In a ranty post yesterday, I mentioned that those of us who reside in red states are still living in a Trumpian nightmare. I have fresh evidence of that in the form of Florida’s new surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who was introduced by Florida’s Trump-wannabe governor yesterday.
Ladapo replaces Dr. Scott Rivkees, who chaired the pediatrics department at the state’s flagship university before he torched his professional reputation by remaining silent (as the state’s surgeon general!) while DeSantis downplayed the horrifying toll of the pandemic, harassed and obstructed local governments and schoolboards that are trying to mitigate the spread, and gave official imprimatur to the conspiracy theorists and COVID-denying crackpots who are indefinitely extending this public health crisis.
Ladapo also has an incredibly impressive CV. But he is a crank who is apparently all-in on DeSantis’s strategy of pretending the pandemic is a liberal hoax to ban red Solo cups and hamburgers at keggers, steal all the guns and bibles, abolish pickups and deprive us of Trump, DeSantis and freedom.
How do we know Ladapo is a crackpot? We know this because he spoke at the Crackpot Doc Summit held on the steps of the US Supreme Court in the summer of 2020. The event was organized by the wingnut “Tea Party Patriots” group and featured a handful of doctors speaking out against masks and social distancing as the initial COVID surge raged.
Trump, who was both a sitting president and a person with a Twitter account back then, retweeted the Crackpot Doc video because one of the other participants, Dr. Stella Immanuel, was hyping hydroxychloroquine, the snake oil cure-all Trump himself was peddling at the time. (Later, Trump had to sort of walk back his praise for Dr. Immanuel when it was revealed that she is also a minister who believes infertility, impotence and other disorders are caused by people having sex with demons in their dreams.)
Anyhoo, if you’re someone who’s more concerned with addressing the fucking pandemic so you can get your fucking life back rather than being laser-focused on mitigating the threat COVID may pose to the highly ambitious DeSantis’s political career, Dr. Ladapo’s remarks at his introduction as the new surgeon general weren’t promising:
“Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies. That’s been something that’s been, unfortunately, a centerpiece of health policies.”
When asked about whether people should fear the vaccine, Ladapo said Tuesday those fears were driven by a “climate of mistrust” in the public about the nation’s coronavirus response. That sentiment is similar to those made by DeSantis since the start of the pandemic.
“That was a direct result of scientists, my colleagues, some of them, taking the science and basically misrepresenting it to fit their agendas,” Ladapo said. “This idea that people don’t get to make their own decisions on issues of health is wrong and it’s not something that we’re going to be about.”
When asked whether Florida should be promoting vaccines, Ladapo replied that too much emphasis had been placed on that approach.
“The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path for that,” Ladapo said. “It’s been treated almost like a religion, and that’s just senseless.”
He said the state should be supporting many measures for good health: “vaccination, losing weight, exercising more (and) eating more fruits and vegetables.”
Sweet weeping Jeebus, we’re doomed. But here’s the thing: we have to push back about this “climate of mistrust” garbage. As Eric Boehlert put it in an excellent piece in Press Run today, people are still dying in huge numbers, even though effective vaccines are now available — for free! — because they’ve been “brainwashed by bad-faith partisan actors…”
Boehlert complains that MSM outlets are yapping about “vaccine hesitancy” while ignoring who created it, and he’s right. Our party, from the president on down to the newest commissioner on a board that governs the most podunk backwater in the US, should be relentless about calling those bad-faith partisan actors out BY NAME for the damage they’re doing to every single one of us.
I think it’s good politics too. I’m all the way across the country from California, so I don’t claim to have any special insight into how Governor Newsom curb-stomped the Trumpian clowns who came at him in the recall. But I’ve got to think regular old citizen disgust with these feckless anti-mask, COVID-denying cockwaffles had something to do with it. So let’s run with that.