photos circulating on social media have raised new questions about the whereabouts of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as he faces criticism amid a surge in COVID-19 in his state.
Critics of the Republican governor have accused him of being “Missing in Action (MIA)” as Florida has set new daily records for new COVID infections four times since December 23.
DeSantis last held a press briefing about the pandemic on December 17 and photos of the governor shared to social media have raised questions.
DeSantis’ official Twitter account has recently shared photos of him that were apparently taken several days earlier without noting the fact. On Tuesday, DeSantis’ account posted a photo that had been taken 12 days earlier—a fact later confirmed to MSNBC by the governor’s office.
On Thursday, DeSantis’ Twitter account shared a photo of him at Bagelicious Deli & Bakery in Ocala, Florida. Grant Stern, executive director of Occupy Democrats, pointed to a December 17 Facebook post from Bagelicious Deli & Bakery featuring that same photo.
“Ron DeSantis is still living in December 17th. #WhereIsRon,” Stern wrote.
Critics have accused DeSantis of being MIA as Florida grapples with a rise in COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, the state reported 58,013 new cases, setting a new daily record. The total number of cases in the state throughout the entire pandemic has now surpassed 4 million.
Separately, Twitter account PatriotTakes shared photos on Thursday that it said show a holiday event, including a sign saying: “Welcome to a holiday reception hosted by the Governor & First Lady of the state of Florida.”
The sign also showed the date as December 20, 2021. Other photos show DeSantis at the purported holiday reception along with other people.
However, it is not clear where the photos came from or if they were all taken at the same date. Some Twitter users expressed doubts about the veracity of the photos but the images have added to speculation about DeSantis’ whereabouts.
The website of the Florida governor does not mention any holiday reception in press releases for December 20, 2021.
If that is so, you can surely still take a moment to reassure your constituents that you have not deserted them during a record-breaking surge of new COVID-19 cases.
For a moment late Thursday afternoon, it seemed you had materialized at a bagel shop. A photo on your Twitter account showed you smiling with four of the staff.
“Had some great bagels from Bagelicious Deli & Bakery in Ocala,” your tweet announced.
But it turned out the photo had actually been taken back on Dec. 17, just before your last public appearance. That was the press conference where you and your anti-masker surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, touted the value of monoclonal antibodies and proclaimed “Early Treatment Saves Lives.”
The daily tally of new COVID cases had already begun to rise from 1,477 to 8,785 over the previous two weeks. But neither you nor Ladapo uttered so much as a syllable about mitigation and preventing Floridians from needing treatment in the first place.