Since at least October, Florida’s Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz unleashed a torrent of politically charged Twitter posts, including at least one deleted post supporting controversial Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her opposition to Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, among many more in clear opposition to President Donald Trump.
The tweets, combined with speculation by several Florida news outlets, suggest Moskowitz may be actively auditioning for a role as FEMA director in a potential Joe Biden administration. To be sure, Moskowitz’s work at DEM has been otherwise free of controversy, and he is well respected as an emergency manager.
But the controversial comments place Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in an awkward position with President Trump’s administration, because Moskowitz, a Democrat, is expected to maintain a good working relationship with the federal government. His social media forays are at odds with the governor’s own stated political views, and in particular his attempts to work hand in hand with the Trump Administration to secure assistance for Florida in the wake of hurricanes, flooding, the coronavirus pandemic, and other disaster relief.
Regardless of how the national election eventually turns out, Florida has at least two more months under a Trump Administration, and there is at least one active storm, Eta, headed straight for the state capital.
A now-deleted Twitter post on October 26th agreeing with Ocasio-Cortez during last month’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings came at a critical time when Florida was facing down a potential hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Moskowitz did not immediately reply to a request for comment on why the post was deleted, but legal experts point out that Moskowitz’s Twitter posts are likely considered public record under Florida’s sunshine laws, since Moskowitz has used his account for other work related posts.
Asked to comment on the controversy through a spokesman, Florida’s Division of Emergency Management directed all inquiries to Moskowitz himself, stating that @JaredEMoskowitz account is his personal Twitter account, though it contains a number of posts that reference emergency management information and other state business combined with personal opinion. In many cases, it’s not clear how the public could know which is which.
A federal court has already ruled that the Twitter posts of public officials, including President Trump’s personal social media posts, are considered part of the official public record.
First appointed in 2019, the former state representative from Broward County has been at the helm of the Sunshine State’s disaster response through several hurricanes and helped coordinate response and relief efforts. The 39-year-old has also played an important role in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been outspoken in his support of wearing masks.
Perhaps most importantly, Moskowitz was labeled “an effective Democratic voice in the Republican-dominated Legislature” by DeSantis. But it’s not clear if DeSantis is entirely comfortable with Moskowitz’s high social media profile, nor his seemingly obvious campaign for new job with the federal government.
While Moskowitz has remained largely nonpartisan when it comes to state affairs, the same cannot be said regarding his views posted on Twitter. He has not shied away from his support for Biden, often tweeting pro-Biden posts in the pre-election day build-up and fallout after the presidential election.
Now where did my kids find that flag 🤔 pic.twitter.com/6dfpg2YKOO
— Jared MASKowitz 😷 (@JaredEMoskowitz) November 3, 2020
More please https://t.co/CJ7Hwvif5Y
— Jared MASKowitz 😷 (@JaredEMoskowitz) November 6, 2020
— Jared MASKowitz 😷 (@JaredEMoskowitz) November 7, 2020
— Jared MASKowitz 😷 (@JaredEMoskowitz) November 7, 2020
Promises Made, Promises Kept. DOGS are Back!!!🐶🐶🐶🐶 https://t.co/PFfmZSHmCN
— Jared MASKowitz 😷 (@JaredEMoskowitz) November 8, 2020
It wouldn’t be unusual for Moskowitz to be tapped to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if Biden is declared the winner — President Barack Obama appointed Florida’s Craig Fugate as FEMA director in 2009 — and Moskowitz seems interested and appears to be auditioning for the post daily on Twitter.
In an age of partisan politics, Moskowitz’s hot takes on social media aren’t surprising. But the head of Florida’s disaster agency is not just any government official. To be so politically outspoken while still being relied upon by governor — recently being formally put in charge of the response to Tropical Storm Eta — is glaring, considering how his messaging prior to the election was more somewhat more controlled.
Many will undoubtedly dismiss Moskowitz’s actions and chalk them up as political differences naturally becoming more transparent against the backdrop of a supercharged and heavily-contested race for the presidency.
Among the more controversial Tweets by Moskowitz, a retweet with emphatic agreement after Ocasio-Cortez posted in support of packing the U.S. Supreme Court after Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as a justice.
“Expand the court,” the congresswoman wrote in response to the 52-48 Senate vote Monday evening to confirm Barret after a weeks-long partisan fight.
“Republicans do this because they don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do,” Ocasio-Cortez added in a follow-up tweet. “And for a long time they’ve been correct. But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal but a response isn’t.”
“There is a legal process for expansion,” she added.
“This tweet everyday and twice on sundays #hardball,” Moskowitz added in his retweet.
The retweet was quickly deleted.