Polsky-Ladapo Spat Could Have Been Politically Motivated


State Sen. Tina Polsky (D-FL-29) recently scheduled a meeting with Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, where the meeting quickly went south.

It was reported over the weekend that Polsky asked Ladapo and his two legislative aides to leave her office because Ladapo did not want to wear a mask during their conversation. Polsky cited her breast cancer diagnosis as the reasoning for her desire to have all parties masked.

“I told him I had a serious medical condition,” said Polsky. She is beginning radiation therapy next week.

Ladapo responded by offering to go outside, but Polsky maintained she wanted to be in the office to have their discussion.

After the encounter, Polsky noted Ladapo’s alleged smugness.

“He just smiles and doesn’t answer. He’s very smug,” Polsky said. “And I told him several times, `I have this very serious medical condition.’ And he said, ‘That’s OK,’ like it basically has nothing to do with what we are talking about.”

Ladapo was recently appointed surgeon general by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), and the statewide pushback across Florida’s political landscape came from Democrats defending Polsky and Florida Republicans condemning Ladapo’s behavior.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-FL-10) called Ladapo’s response “disappointing” and “unprofessional.”

However, The Capitolist and Politico Florida noted Polsky was recently seen maskless with fellow Democrats, including State Sen. Loranne Ausley (D-FL-3) in a committee meeting the same day as her meeting with Ladapo.

Polsky said he has not always been perfect about wearing her mask, but never declined someone’s request for her to wear one.

“Although I have certainly not been perfect about wearing a mask I have never declined to wear one when someone has asked met do,” Polsky said in a text message to The Capitolist. “I am also very thankful that the Senate President agrees that this is an issue of respect and that the bottom line is the Surgeon General should have respected my wishes.”

Polsky said that Ladapo remarked to her before leaving Polsky’s office “Sometimes I try to reason with unreasonable people for fun.”

Ladapo posted a lengthy apology on Twitter where he explained why he desired to not be masked.

“I attempted in good faith to find some way for us to communicate that would respect each of our preferences,” Ladapo said. “Having a conversation with someone while wearing a mask is not something I find productive, especially when other options exist. It is important to me to communicate clearly and effectively with people. I can’t do that when half of my face is covered.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Tina Polsky” by Tina Polsky. CC BY-SA 4.0.





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