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Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried want new Florida surgeon general Joseph Ladapo gone

 Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) introduces newly appointed Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo (right) in a press conference in September 2021.
Florida Channel
Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) introduces newly appointed Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo (right) in a press conference in September 2021.

Said Crist: "Dr. Ladapo has made it clear that he was appointed not to help our state battle this public health crisis but to be an ill-informed political tool for the governor of Florida."

Two gubernatorial candidates, Florida U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, condemn Gov. Ron DeSantis's newly appointed surgeon general Joseph Ladapo.

Both want Florida senators to deny Ladapo's confirmation.

During an online press conference Wednesday, Crist pointed to Ladapo's rewriting of a Florida Department of Health rule, making it explicit that parents, not school districts, have the right to opt their child out of masking.

"Dr. Ladapo has made it clear that he was appointed not to help our state battle this public health crisis but to be an ill-informed political tool for the governor of Florida," Crist said.

Crist said Ladapo's unwillingness to share his vaccination status and refusal to wear a mask in the office of Sen. Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton) makes him unfit to be Florida's Surgeon General. Polsky was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It is clear that Gov. DeSantis only sought to feed his own political interests when he appointed Dr. Ladapo to the office of surgeon general," Crist said. "It is equally clear that Dr. Ladapo is not of the moral character and professionalism needed in order to best serve our fellow Floridians.”

Ladapo tweeted that having a conversation with someone while wearing a mask is not something he finds productive. Ladapo also stated that he couldn't communicate clearly and effectively when half his face is covered.

His refusal to wear a mask in Polsky's office was one of the reasons Fried is criticizing him. She said during a press conference yesterday that Ladapo has spread misinformation and increased political divides.

"He should not be our surgeon general. He should not be somebody who is in charge of our healthcare policies in the state of Florida," Fried said.

"So I am asking our state Senate to do what is right for the people of our state and deny his confirmation this legislative session and to make the governor come back to the table with a new appointment for surgeon general."

She wants DeSantis to make a new appointment for surgeon general. Crist wants Ladapo to resign.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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