Banner Declaring Ron DeSantis 'Is Missing' While Florida 'On Fire' Flown Over Miami

A banner reading "Florida is on fire and Ron is missing" made its way across the skies over Miami and South Beach on Thursday, coming at a time when the state's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has faced criticism reportedly over minimal public appearances amid the COVID-19 surge.

The video of the banner, which was paid for by the Remove Ron political advocacy group and circulated across Twitter by individuals such as Occupy Democrats executive director Grant Stern and Federation of American Scientists fellow and former congressional candidate Eric Feigl-Ding, shows the message being flown in black lettering across a bright blue sky.

Criticism toward DeSantis has ramped up amid a rise of COVID-19 in his state that has reached its highest number of reported cases on Thursday with 77,848—at a time when an average of 1 in 4 Miami-Dade County residents have tested positive for coronavirus.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faces criticism for not making public appearances amid a COVID surge in Florida. Here, he speaks holding his facemask during a press conference to address the rise of coronavirus cases in the state, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, on July 13, 2020 Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

The last time DeSantis reportedly held a news conference was on December 17 and has not made any public appearances since, sans a FOX News spot, according to Florida Politics. This has drawn criticism from Democrats over his handling of the pandemic in Florida.

"He signed into law legislation that effectively prohibited local governments from being able to take charge and lead in our fight against Covid-19," Democratic Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County said at a recent press conference, NBC News reported. "Our residents, all Florida residents should be outraged, and they should ask the question, now, where's our state? Where's our governor? Where is Ron DeSantis now? When was the last time you saw the governor do a press briefing regarding COVID-19?"

The governor's press secretary, Christina Pushaw, issued a tweet Thursday stating that DeSantis' wife is battling cancer and has three children between the ages of 1 and 5, adding "it's not surprising if he wants to take a few days off at Christmas to spend time with his family."

Courtesy of @RemoveRon

The issue has drawn further scrutiny after DeSantis' official Twitter account posted photos of the governor that were taken days prior without noting the discrepancy between the time the photo was taken and its date of posting. It led Occupy Democrats' Stern to tweet: "Ron DeSantis is still living in December 17th. #WhereIsRon."

Meanwhile, the governor's website has issued press releases describing his activities since December 17, such as a December 22 release stating DeSantis had made 14 appointments to the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council.

Newsweek contacted DeSantis' office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.