Florida’s new Surgeon General has only been on the job a month and he is already taking heat after refusing a request to put on a mask in a state Senator’s office.
Last week, Joseph Ladapo was making the rounds in the State Senate Office building. When he stopped in to see Democrat Senator Tina Polsky, she told him she has a serious health condition and asked him to put on a mask.
“I ask everyone to wear a mask in my office,” said Polsky, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ladapo refused to put a mask on.
“It was like a negotiation, and at some point I said, you know, if you won’t wear a mask, I know all I need to know about you. You can leave now,” said Polsky.
On the way out, one of Polsky’s aides heard Ladapo say, “Sometimes I try to reason with unreasonable people for fun”.
“He doesn’t have the skills of a physician to care about me as an individual when I told him I had a serious medical condition,” said Polsky.
Senator Polsky was upset because two aides with the Surgeon General did nothing to encourage mask-wearing and did not wear one themselves. The Department of Health released the following statement:
“The Department of Health is saddened to hear of Senator Polsky’s recent diagnosis, and wishes her well.
DOH will be addressing this directly with members of the Senate, rather than letting this play out publicly. While we weren’t aware of any specific Senate protocol, we will certainly ask members ahead of time and make necessary accommodations, such as meeting through Zoom or outdoors.”
Press Secretary Weesam Khoury
Over the weekend, Polsky’s office received an antisemitic voice mail and numerous hateful emails.
“A couple of them were threatening. Someone said they hoped I died of cancer,” said Polsky.
In a memo to Senators and staff, GOP Senate President Wilton Simpson called the encounter unprofessional and disappointing.
Agriculture Commissioner and Gubernatorial Hopeful Nikki Fried said she believes Ladapo has no place in Florida.
“And certainly this is not someone who should be leading our state during a health care crisis,” said Fried