Three years ago today, a gunman slaughtered 49 people during Latin night at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, and in remembrance of this occasion Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent out an official proclamation completely ignoring the existence of Hispanics or the LGBTQ community
The proclamation, which ordered all flags to be lowered at half mast across the state, only referenced the "Orlando and Central Florida community," and even spelled one victim's name incorrectly, as the Orlando Sentinel's Monivette Cordeiro pointed out. Of course, all of this is pretty embarrassing when you consider that even former Governor Rick “I took two days to even mention gay people after Pulse” Scott included the LGBTQ community in last year’s proclamation.
This omission of did not go over well, and was immediately noticed by advocates and State Reps. Anna Eskamani and Carlos Guillermo Smith.
“(DeSantis) has stripped any mention of the #LGBTQ community in remembering #Pulse,” Eskamani wrote in a tweet. “This is completely straight-washed and an insult to (House District 47). Based on these side-by-side proclamations, Governor Rick Scott was a better friend to LGBTQ Floridians than DeSantis.”
@GovRonDeSantis has stripped any mention of the #LGBTQ community in remembering #Pulse. This is completely straight-washed and an insult to #HD47.— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) June 12, 2019
Based on these side-by-side Pulse proclamations, Governor Rick Scott was a better friend to LGBTQ Floridians than DeSantis. pic.twitter.com/2nvUE343XG
Eskamani also pointed how bad it would go over if the mayor of Pittsburgh didn’t mention the Jewish community in a proclamation about last year’s white supremacist attack at the Tree of Life synagogue.
After getting dragged on social media all night, DeSantis posted a new message to Twitter early Wednesday morning, which included the LGBTQ community and later referred to the snub as a "staff error."
“Today we mourn the loss of life of 49 innocent victims of an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando that targeted the LGBTQ and Hispanic community, and Florida as a whole,” said the tweet. “In honor of their memory, I am ordering flags to be lowered to half-staff.”
Today we mourn the loss of life of 49 innocent victims of an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando that targeted the LGBTQ and Hispanic community, and Florida as a whole. In honor of their memory, I am ordering flags to be lowered to half-staff.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 12, 2019
While this is a good start, Eskamani also wants an apology.
“Advocacy matters. No doubt Governor Ron DeSantis saw the blowback on social media for erasing LGBTQ people and is now doing damage control,” said Eskamani in a statement.“An apology is warranted for the original Pulse proclamation and though I appreciate the recognition of LGBTQ people through a tweet, I demand now more than ever that he offer LGBTQ protections to state workers and push the legislature to pass the Competitive Workforce Act," she wrote. “We honor those who are no longer with us through action, and I hope the Governor now realizes that.”
Combined with Panhandle Republican Mike Hill not apologizing for laughing at the thought of killing gay people and fundraising off his callous remarks, it would appear the Florida GOP is off to a great start to Pride month.