Nikki Fried suspects Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis contracted COVID-19 in November

'It's just a personal hunch.'

click to enlarge Nikki Fried suspects Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis contracted COVID-19 in November
Screengrab via Florida Channel

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried told the Daily Beast on Monday she suspects Gov. Ron DeSantis contracted COVID-19 last year.

Speaking to reporters in Tallahassee after appearing on the publication’s The New Abnormal podcast, Fried described the assessment as a “personal hunch.”

“You know, he went MIA for three weeks in November claiming that he was working on some statewide plan,” Fried said on the podcast. “My take is that he probably had COVID and didn’t want to tell people when the vaccines first came to our state.”

Fried’s suspicion centers around the Governor’s abrupt departure from the public eye after the presidential election.

DeSantis, who wears a mask sparingly, was a frequent guest at former President Donald Trump‘s Florida rallies. The large gatherings notably bucked social distancing measures and other COVID-19 health protocols.

The reason for the Governor’s nearly month-long absence?

“We’ve been doing a lot of work on preparing for the vaccine,” DeSantis told reporters then.

Fried, however, suggested that the Governor’s justification conflicts with his latest remarks.

In February, DeSantis told reporters that Florida operates without a strict COVID-19 vaccine playbook.

“We now know that there is no plan and there never was a plan,” Fried said. “So my question is: where was he for those three weeks? And so again, I jumped to my own personal thoughts that maybe he had COVID.”

DeSantis spokeswoman Meredith Beatrice told Florida Politics the Governor “never tested positive” for COVID-19.

“It’s disturbing that someone would make false claims about his personal health,” she added.

Fried’s podcast appearance and subsequent remarks notch her latest jab at the Republican Governor.

Serving as Florida’s highest-ranking Democrat, she is widely considered a 2022 gubernatorial contender.

DeSantis, meanwhile, whose profile has grown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is drawing buzz as a 2024 presidential contender.

On Monday, DeSantis appeared on FOX News to discuss his latest profile piece with Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade.

“We’re in 2021,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to have reelection in 2022. That’s kind of what I’m focused on.”

This article first appeared at Florida Politics.

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