At the end of every week, we praise a political playmaker, “swipe left” on the week’s biggest political loser, and explain what it all means for Florida’s political arena.
CHAMP: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry
In a responsible manner, Curry reopened beaches and parks in Duval, giving his constituents the freedom they’ve been craving while also issuing restrictions that ensured that such actions wouldn’t compromise the health of Floridians as the state continues to find ways to eliminate the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Though he was met with backlash, Curry offered limited hours for the Duval County beaches and placed restrictions for only “essential activities,” as defined by an executive order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis. Those activities include walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming and surfing. People must still practice social distancing.
Curry also reopened parks to their normal hours, and limited gatherings to fewer than 50 people.
We remain under a State and local safer at home order. Limited access to beaches/ parks is for recreational activities only. No chairs, coolers, sitting/groups congregating. Public safety workers will break up groups. Use these spaces responsibly. Don’t ruin this for everyone https://t.co/eiZZpGVhNP
— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) April 17, 2020
The move has done wonders for those in the area looking to regain some semblance of normalcy to their everyday routine. Thus far, most people out at the beaches are following the restrictions he put in place — with no large gatherings or parties — proving that gradually reopening Florida can be done in a cautious, yet competent way.
Moving forward, Curry says he will remain in contact with local law enforcement to make sure beachgoers and those participating adhere to the current guidelines set forth by the governor and himself.
CHUMP: Miami Herald Columnist Fabiola Santiago
There are chumps, and then there’s Santiago.
The embattled reporter for the Miami Herald found herself in hot water at the beginning of the week after she tweeted a hate-filled message to the supporters of President Donald Trump and DeSantis.
With Republicans looking for ways to safely end the shutdown and jumpstart Florida’s stalled economy, DeSantis took the first step last week, giving the green light for some beaches in North Florida to safely and responsibly reopen.
The move, which gave municipalities the freedom to reopen beaches and parks, still included restrictions that limited what beachgoers and participants could and could not do. And while DeSantis was praised by many for his actions, others in the state saw it as another opportunity to criticize the governor for trying to find ways to return a slice of normality to the lives of everyday Floridians.
But instead of offering a valid reason why such a policy would be detrimental to Florida’s ongoing battle against COVID-19, Santiago resorted to demonizing Republicans for offering hope to many in the state.
Two days after DeSantis opened beaches, Fabiola did the unimaginable, issuing a malicious tweet that seemed to suggest that she harbored ill-will towards Republican supporters.
“Packed beaches should work nicely to thin the ranks of Trump/DeSantis/Gimenez supporters in #Florida who value money over health,” Santiago tweeted in response to Republicans slowly reopening the economy.
The tweet, which has since been deleted by Santiago, seemed to hint that Santiago was ok with Republican supporters falling victim to the deadly coronavirus. Santiago would later address the since-deleted tweet, suggesting that it had more to do with her disdain for the current policy, and less to do with her wishing physical harm to those who think differently than her (even though that’s not how it read).
In fact, my intent was to sound an alarm about prematurely opening up the country and the state. I was trying to open eyes, minds and save lives, not create a controversy about me instead of the issue, which merits discussion. #StayHome #BeSafe #practicesocialdistancing
— Fabiola Santiago (@fabiolasantiago) April 20, 2020
Naturally, the tweet went over about as well as a Star Wars movie directed by Rian Johnson, with leaders in the Sunshine State calling on the Miami Herald to hold Santiago accountable for her distasteful comment.
This is far beyond the pale for civilized people. It’s time for the Miami Herald to hold Fabiola accountable@GovRonDeSantis has worked tirelessly, patiently and wisely to safeguard the lives of Floridians while protecting everyone’s rights. #FireFabiola #CancelMiamiHerald https://t.co/bOFdIZehot
— Joe Gruters (@JoeGruters) April 20, 2020
to be associated with this sort of blatant and bush league behavior. Journalism, like politics, often reinforce the unfortunate stereotypes associated to them. I call on the Herald to denounce @fabiolasantiago statement.” 2/2
— Jose Oliva (@RepJoseOliva) April 20, 2020
Fabiola Santiago—columnist for the Miami Herald tweeted today that packed beaches will “nicely thin the ranks for DeSantis & Trump supporters”
She is also part of the @UF school of “journalism” hall of fame
She should be fired & removed of any honors for this
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) April 20, 2020
Santiago’s comments also made waves in the national political sphere, with prominent figures like Donald Trump Jr. calling out Santiago and bias that continues on the political left.
This tweet from a Miami Herald columnist tells you all you need to know about her, and based on their hiring choices, likely everything you need to know about the Miami Herald as well. Their flagrant bias continues to go on unchecked. Disgusting. https://t.co/FOmn5zxnaK
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 19, 2020
You’re grotesque. A genuine embarrassment.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) April 19, 2020
Santiago’s comments, however, come as no surprise — given the bias reporting and recent failures of the Miami Herald.
We reached out to the newspaper for a response on the matter but were met with silence. I imagine they have enough trouble to worry about, with a petition on change.org being created calling for her termination.