TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pick for Florida Surgeon General was in the hot seat Wednesday, during a confirmation hearing where there was controversy during a fiery debate.
Florida’s surgeon general has butted heads with members of the legislature regarding his comments about vaccines and masking.
Wednesday, some of those members apparently had heard enough.
“The Florida Senate Democrats in this committee are now going to abstain, walk out, and come back when we have more business to attend,” said State Senator Lauren Book, D.-FL.
It marked a fiery end to a politically charged confirmation process for Florida’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo.
All four Democrats on the Senate Health Policy Committee staged a walkout.
“Quite frankly, we have an extreme amount of respect for this process, you. Mr. Chair and the Senate. However, we don’t feel that we’re getting any answers met,” said Book.
Book, the Senate Democratic leader, pressed Ladapo repeatedly to give a yes or no answer on whether vaccines are effective against COVID-19.
Later, he was asked about the walkout.
“I certainly wish them well. I have no ill will toward them, and I hope that we can work together on issues of public health relevance to Floridians,” said Ladapo.
The complaints made by Democrats were that he was being evasive.
“No, I do not, I feel that I answered them as accurately as possible,” said Ladapo.
Ladapo was also asked if he regretted not agreeing to State Senator Tina Polsky’s request to wear a mask during a meeting, a dispute that made national headlines.
The Boca Raton Democrat had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
After the hearing, Polsky’s office released a statement that read in part, “Today’s performance revealed that doctor Ladapo is wholly unqualified for the position as Florida’s top medical doctor. His responses were evasive, vague and consisted of nothing more than word salad gibberish.”
In the end, the committee voted six to nothing in favor of his confirmation.
Doctor Ladapo’s nomination still requires a vote from the full State Senate.
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