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Florida Democrats Call Out Trump’s Failed Coronavirus Response Ahead of Pence Visit

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Mike Pence visited Tampa, Florida yesterday, amid a record-breaking surge in COVID-19 cases and waning hospital capacity, to spin Donald Trump’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ahead of his trip, Florida Democrats called out the Trump administration for their politics-first, anti-science approach to dealing with this health crisis.

USA Today Network: Pence, DeSantis meet in Tampa as virus cases surge
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo ridiculed Pence for coming to Florida amid the latest surge, after the Trump administration urged states to open early to help the president’s re-election prospects.

“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,” Rizzo said.

Florida Politics: Donna Shalala, Democratic leaders rip Trump administration
South Florida Democratic leaders blasted President Donald Trump’s administration for its handling of the coronavirus epidemic Thursday morning in advance of a visit by Vice President Mike Pence.

Associated Press: Florida reports 10,000 coronavirus cases for 1st time
Before the visit, Florida Democrats held a conference call criticizing the coronavirus response from the White House and DeSantis as inadequate and needlessly endangering lives by opening up too soon and declining to mandate safety measures such as wearing of masks.

Lakeland Ledger: Democrats aim ad blitz at Pence
Vice President Mike Pence canceled a scheduled Thursday visit to Lake Wales, but the Democratic National Committee engineered a message for him in Polk County anyway. The committee arranged a ‘homepage takeover’ of The Ledger’s website, reserving advertising space for a 24-hour period.

Tampa Bay Times: On record-breaking day, Mike Pence says Florida in a ‘much better place’ in coronavirus fight
Ahead of Pence’s arrival, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, blasted the Trump administration and top Florida Republicans.

“Vice President Mike Pence and Governor DeSantis have a lot in common — most notably that both failed to effectively address the COVID-19 pandemic seriously or with urgency,” Biden said in a campaign statement

Politico: Florida hits new Covid-19 record ahead of Pence visit
Ahead of Pence’s visit, Democrats lashed out at the Republican response to Covid-19. “The governor has been meek, he has been following the lead of the White House,” said Rep. Donna Shalala, a Miami Democrat and former head of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton. “I don’t know why he ran for governor if he didn’t want to make hard decisions.”

NPR: Another Day, Another Coronavirus Record In Florida
The rising numbers of coronavirus cases have raised questions about DeSantis' leadership and his close ties to Trump, whom he consulted before allowing businesses to begin reopening.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, who represents parts of Miami, said, “In their rush to reopen, they've put politics ahead of public health.”