What's AOC doing in Miami Beach while her hometown faces a COVID crisis?

Tom Williams/Pool via AP

NRO nabbed a photo of her dining al fresco (and maskless) outside a sushi place in Miami yesterday, the same day New York State obliterated its daily record for COVID cases. In New York City, the case curve looks like this:


After Ted Cruz famously ditched Texas during its power crisis in February for the warmth of Cancun, Ocasio-Cortez took to dragging him repeatedly:

Now here she is doing a little abandoning of her own. Was the lure of the Free State of Florida too much for her to resist as her constituents in Queens cope with the spread of one of the most highly contagious viruses anyone’s ever seen?

The Cruz analogy is apt inasmuch as any representative has a duty to assist their jurisdiction during an emergency. Granted, it’s Christmas week and even members of Congress deserve some down time, but the job is what it is. At a moment of crisis, an elected official should drop everything and assist the locals.

Or is AOC not treating the situation in New York as a crisis? That would be defensible: While cases have reached an insane, previously unimaginable altitude, hospitalizations in NYC at the moment are way off their pandemic peak. If Ocasio-Cortez wants to justify being away from home on grounds that Omicron is “just the flu,” let her have at it. But that would be notably uncharacteristic for a member of the far left, which typically supports maximum caution in all things COVID.


Still, the analogy between Cruz and AOC isn’t perfect since it’s not clear she benefits personally from being in Miami instead of NYC the way he did by ditching a state that was frozen over for a tropical resort town. There’s no lockdown in New York at the moment; even masking indoors is only “strongly recommended.” If she wanted to eat outdoors at a restaurant, she could do that in Queens. The most meaningful difference between New York and Miami at the moment is that she’d have to show proof of vaccination to dine in the former. But that would pose no problem for her, as she’s vaccinated. Miami may be “freer” than NYC at the moment but it’s not night and day.

The other difference between her and Cruz is this:

That’s the case curve in Miami today. AOC didn’t ditch her hometown for a city that’s not facing the same sort of crisis, as Cruz did when he left Texas for Cancun. She left one hot spot for another. Which is … weird, but at least lets her say that she didn’t flee NYC in order to spare herself from a risk that her constituents are facing. She’s facing a similar risk, just in a different state.

Karol Markowicz is right about this, though:

New York is seeing a steeper increase in hospitalizations lately than Florida is. Maybe Ocasio-Cortez will ring in 2022 by encouraging her hometown to drop all remaining restrictions in the belief that they’re obviously no longer helping to slow the spread.


By the way, Democrats are also tracking the location of politicians in Florida this week:

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been missing in action as Covid cases in the state have spiked to new heights, Florida Democratic officials charge…

DeSantis, a Republican and outspoken opponent of vaccine and mask mandates, last held a Covid press briefing on Dec. 17. Covid cases have reached new highs in Florida since then, including a record level of more than 58,000 new cases on Wednesday.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. His press secretary, Christina Pushaw, tweeted Thursday that the governor has “a wife and 3 kids ages 1-5, and it’s not surprising if he wants to take a few days off at Christmas to spend time with his family, especially as his wife is battling cancer. I don’t criticize (President Joe) Biden for going to Rehoboth Beach all week, right?”

Pushaw said last night that her boss has been working all week at the state capitol, per public schedules. And like I said above, it’s reasonable for any official to want to take some time off during Christmas week, especially one whose family is coping with a serious health challenge. But this item from DeSantis’s Twitter account was curious:

He did have some bagels at Bagelicious recently — but not yesterday. That photo was apparently taken on December 17. His social media team evidently wants people to believe he was out and about this week when he hasn’t been. As far as I know, his last confirmed public appearance was at a holiday reception at the governor’s mansion on December 20. The lefty theory is that he caught COVID at some point after that, like millions of other Americans, and is trying to keep it quiet for reasons that aren’t clear. Possibly he wouldn’t want it known that he’s infected since it would feed liberal attacks that his lax COVID policies facilitate transmission (a hard argument to make given the situation in NYC at the moment) or possibly because it would raise suspicion that the reception at the mansion was a superspreader event, leading to scrutiny of the precautions that were taken there. Either way, I assume we’ll hear from him soon.


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