Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried claimed Friday that her “greatest weakness” was the fact that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a national platform.
Fried made the claim during an interview with CNN anchor Poppy Harlow, who promptly reminded Fried that she herself was using a national platform (CNN) to make that complaint. (RELATED: Official Who Promoted DeSantis Conspiracy Theories Announces Run For Florida Governor)
Harlow asked Fried to weigh in on DeSantis’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic, of which she had often been critical, as the most recent numbers appeared to indicate that Florida had come through with some of the best possible results.
“Florida has a 4.8% unemployment rate, well below the national average, the per capita death rate from COVID-19 is 27th, nowhere near the highest. Do you think he deserves credit for that?” the anchor asked. (RELATED: ‘Florida Chose Freedom Over Fauci-ism’: Gov. DeSantis Gets Huge Applause At Country Music Festival)
Fried said she did not believe DeSantis deserved credit. She claimed DeSantis had taken a “hands-off” approach and that officials at the state level had not been transparent.
“He was one of the quickest governors to move to lock down the nursing homes, the opposite of what happened here in New York,” Harlow pushed back.
Fried continued to argue that DeSantis had not been clear about what people should do and that all credit should be given to the local governments and private businesses that took it upon themselves to issue directives when DeSantis did not. She also accused DeSantis of being “confusing” and of not being “empathetic.”
“I’m just asking you, commissioner, since you’re running to be governor of Florida, about the hard data … you can’t argue that the unemployment rate in Florida right now is half what it is in New York and California, and it is 27th on the list when you look at COVID deaths. My question is, all your criticism of him saying he didn’t shut down soon enough, calling for mask mandates statewide, looking at the data, did he have it right and did you have it wrong?” Harlow pressed again.
“No, and I go back to what the local governments did. The governor didn’t do a mask mandate, the local governments did. That is what slowed down the spread of the virus,” Fried replied, continuing to insist that all progress was the result of local governments stepping in to impose regulations in spite of DeSantis.
Harlow finished the interview by asking Fried what she believed to be her “greatest weakness.”
“You know, I think my greatest weakness is the fact that right now Ron is on a platform on the national stage and so he’s getting a lot of national PR, but the greatest — but we are going to take that and turn it into a positive,” Fried said.
“You just had about seven or eight minutes on a national platform, CNN,” Harlow said.