Screengrab via DeSantis/Facebook
Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke about his abbreviated December public schedule, blasting his “enemies” for criticizing him for not speaking up as COVID-19 surged in the state last month.
“When you’re in the political arena, sometimes you’re fortunate with the enemies you have. Because these people just aren’t shooting straight,” DeSantis said at a press conference Monday, responding to critics who suggested the Governor was on vacation when he was in fact by his wife’s side during breast cancer treatments.
DeSantis said the latest attacks were “dumb” and “not effective,” wrapping up seemingly extemporaneous remarks in which he responded to people wondering why he wasn’t doing COVID-19 press conferences as omicron surged last month.
“I guess I should have been at the beach in Delaware, right, and then they would have been really happy with that,” DeSantis quipped, a reference to President Joe Biden‘s frequent returns home.
DeSantis noted that his office releases its schedule daily.
“I guess these people didn’t know that,” DeSantis said, noting that on Thursday he had public events, but the day before there was “nothing on the calendar.”
The Governor lampooned critics saying, “oh my God, he’s on vacation,” before reminding reporters of the real reason for his absence.
“I just looked at my wife. I’m like, ‘going to the hospital with you is not a vacation for you, I know that,'” DeSantis said. “This is something that as a husband, I think I should be doing. I’ve accompanied her to all her chemotherapy treatments. She’s there for a long time. I’m there most of the time.”
“But it’s a draining thing,” the Governor added. “When she’s done with it, it’s not something that’s great to see.”
DeSantis said that for many people, including those who had gone through breast cancer treatments, “the notion that would be considered a vacation is offensive to a lot of those folks, and they understand what you’re doing.”
DeSantis’ comments came in the wake of speculation from both state and national figures about his absence, including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Congresswoman who razzed DeSantis last week while in the state on vacation.
“Hasn’t Gov. DeSantis been inexplicably missing for like two weeks? If he’s around, I would be happy to say hello,” AOC tweeted last week, ahead of Fox News reporting that the Governor was by the First Lady’s side during cancer treatments.
DeSantis addressed the recurrent phenomenon of Democratic elected officials from across the country vacationing in the state.
“If I had a dollar for every lockdown politician who decided to escape to Florida over the last two years, I’d be a pretty doggone wealthy man, let me tell you,” DeSantis quipped.
This article first appeared at Florida Politics.