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Ahead of Pence Visit, Cardiologist, Florida Democrats Slammed the Trump Admin for Politics-First Response to the Pandemic, Surge in COVID-19 Cases

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Ahead of Mike Pence’s visit to the Sunshine State today, Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo, Congresswoman Donna Shalala (FL-27), State Senator José Javier Rodríguez (SD-37), and Miami-based cardiologist Dr. Bernard Ashby held a virtual press conference to discuss how the Trump administration’s anti-science, politics-first approach continues to worsen the coronavirus crisis in Florida.

Mike Pence is visiting Florida as the state announced 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, a new record for the highest single-day increase in cases. Yesterday, the United States confirmed more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases in one day, another record.

Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party Chair

“The Trump campaign spent most of May and nearly all of June going on what amounted to a victory tour, falsely claiming they succeeded in containing the outbreak and rushing states like Florida to reopen before they were ready. Last time Mike Pence was in Florida, the U.S had just passed the bleak milestone of 100,000 American deaths due to COVID-19.

“... the Trump team’s victory lap is over, but we still have a marathon to run. Not only was this victory tour fundamentally disconnected from the reality of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, it also led us to the situation we’re currently in -- they signaled that it was OK to flout CDC guidelines and get back to business as usual, without the necessary safety measures in place. COVID-19 cases are hitting record highs, hospital capacity is waning, and Donald Trump is once again asleep at the wheel, making excuses and claiming as recently as yesterday that the coronavirus will somehow ‘just disappear.’”

Congresswoman Donna Shalala, FL-27

“It is immoral for Trump, Pence, this administration --with the support of our governor-- to go to court to try to take health care away from literally millions of people in this country and hundreds of thousands of people in Miami-Dade county.”

[...] “Donald Trump and Mike Pence are cheerleaders, and there’s nothing to cheer about when our friends and neighbors are getting infected and dying. We need to go back to the fundamentals of public health and starve this virus so that we can do serious contact tracing. We need to tell the people in Florida the truth and that is we’re nowhere near where we need to be.”

State Senator José Javier Rodríguez, SD-37

“And unfortunately the huge sacrifice that all parts of our community made...all of those sacrifices were made so that our leaders could put in place practices that will allow us to eventually reopen safely...That time was squandered.”

[...] “In late May, the photo op that we all remember was DeSantis and Pence having a burger. No mask, no social distancing. Basically in late May pretending like there was no pandemic and there was nothing to be worried about or take seriously, but we hope the message that they directly and indirectly send to the public this time around will be very different...We should have public health in the driver’s seat and not public relations.”

Dr. Bernard Ashby, Florida cardiologist and public health expert

“And honestly this was no surprise, [because] of the fact that there was no comprehensive, evidence based, strategic, proactive plan to deal with the pandemic at the federal and state level. This was predictable.”

[...] "I’m very concerned about the current trends and I’m most concerned about the anemic response we’ve had thus far. This reactionary, piecemeal approach is not the way to do it. It has to be a long term, strategic, comprehensive plan...What's going on is inadequate at best."