'Ron DeSantis is MIA': Critics Attack Florida Governor Silence as COVID Ravages State

Critics have rounded on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after his state broke its daily record for new COVID-19 cases three times in a week.

Two Florida elected officials, an MSNBC host, and the head of a group seeking to remove DeSantis from office have all suggested that the Republican governor is "missing in action" in recent days.

The state recorded 46,923 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. That was the highest single-day increase in infections since the pandemic began, while the previous record had been set at 32,874 daily cases on Christmas Eve. Before that, a new record of 31,744 cases was recorded on December 23.

The total number of cases in Florida throughout the entire pandemic has now surpassed 4 million.

On Tuesday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, a Democrat, hit out at DeSantis during a press conference.

He said that Florida counties had not received state funding for COVID testing as the Omicron variant has spreads in the state.

"We have not received any assistance from the state of Florida at our testing sites," Demings said.

"Our residents, all Florida residents, should be outraged and they should ask the question, 'Where is our state? Where is our governor? Where is Ron DeSantis now?' When was the last time you saw the governor do a press briefing regarding COVID-19?'" the mayor said.

On Wednesday, Demings' comments were featured on MSNBC's The ReidOut, which was hosted by Tiffany Cross, who also accused DeSantis of being MIA.

"Well now, the incompetent Trump acolyte appears to be missing in action as Omicron sweeps across his state," Cross said before showing a clip from Demings' press conference.

Cross noted that according to The Orlando Sentinel, DeSantis last held a press conference about COVID-19 on December 17. She went to discuss a photo DeSantis had shared to Instagram and Twitter "just hours" after Demings' comments that showed him at a restaurant.

However, Florida lawyer and chairman of Remove Ron, Daniel Uhlfelder, had pointed out on Twitter that the photo in question was 12 days old. Cross said MSNBC had confirmed that fact with the governor's office.

Uhlfelder later shared a clip of Cross' remarks on Twitter, saying: "Ron DeSantis is MIA. Spread the word."

His group, Remove Ron, aims to remove DeSantis from office in the 2022 election and Uhlfelder also tweeted on Wednesday: "Who do you call when the Governor of third largest state is missing[?]"

"Florida reported a new record 46,923 COVID-19 cases today surpassing 4 million and DeSantis is MIA posting 12 day old photos of him to help him hide," Uhlfelder wrote.

Florida Commissioner for Agriculture Nikki Fried also spoke to Cross on The ReidOut on Wednesday and suggested DeSantis was missing in action. Fried is one of the Democrats currently hoping to run against in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

Fried said she had "no idea" where DeSantis was and that he had canceled a cabinet meeting in the middle of December.

"I haven't seen him since December 17 so I don't know where he is," Fried said. "But [to be] quite honest, even if he was here, he wouldn't be doing anything anyhow, and we know that. So once again the people of our state are gonna have to step up and beat this ...without him."

Newsweek has asked DeSantis' office for comment.

Ron DeSantis Speaks at a Press Conference
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference about the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Hard Rock Stadium on January 06, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Critics have accused DeSantis of being "missing in action" amid a rise in COVID cases in the state. Joe Raedle/Getty Images