As the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried (D-FL) has been enjoying a political high as her poll numbers just surpassed former governor and US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) in the Democrat primary race for governor.
However, Fried's inconsistent mask policy might cost her some points in the highly anticipated gubernatorial race.
Back in June of 2020, Commissioner Fried called for a statewide mask mandate as cases in Florida piled up last Summer. Fried even described mask mandates as "common sense" and referenced other states' performances with mandates to shame Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and his very early resistance to any COVID-19 regulations.
"Everybody should be wearing masks," said Fried "We know that the masks are not going to stop the spread, but it certainly will slow it down. We also need to reinforce that COVID is not behind us." Fried then pushed for "vigilance" and the continuation of social distancing.
Now in August of 2021, Fried has supposedly changed her stance as she backed away from statewide mandates on CNN's "New Day" where she ruled out any statewide requirement for Floridians to mask up. Fried then suggested that Governor DeSantis allow school districts to make decisions on their own.
“Our local governments and our corporations are the ones that got us through this pandemic in 2020. But, unfortunately, this governor also has handicapped our local governments by not allowing them to do any kind of restrictions, whether it’s mask mandates or curfews or trying to put out correct information.”
Oddly enough, Fried's trust in Florida's parents sounds extremely similar to the rhetoric of Gov.DeSantis who is being blasted nationwide with negative press coverage of COVID-19. The White House recently landed in hot water taking shots at Florida which DeSantis' Press Secretary Christina Pushaw fired back at administration, calling their accusations "baseless."