Here’s one of those fun stories that dropped into our laps just as everyone was getting ready for their new year’s eve celebrations. On Thursday, while New York City was in the midst of the largest surge in Omicron and other COVID cases seen to date, National Review revealed that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t hanging around in her home district in Queens. Instead, AOC was photographed in Miami Beach, sitting maskless with her boyfriend and sipping champagne at a sidewalk cafe. Allahpundit already pointed out the differences between AOC’s situation and a previous flap over Ted Cruz’s vacation agenda. In any event, AOC’s trip to the Sunshine State prompted the office of Governor Ron DeSantis to have a little fun by “welcoming” her to Florida on Twitter and saying that they hoped she was enjoying some of the freedom offered by DeSantis’ policies.
Welcome to Florida, AOC!
— Team DeSantis (@teamrondesantis) December 31, 2021
Sadly for AOC, she’s never been known for recognizing when it might be time to keep her head down and stay out of the limelight. She decided to fire back, invoking an already debunked claim about DeSantis himself being on vacation during the pandemic.
Hasn’t Gov. DeSantis been inexplicably missing for like 2 weeks?
If he’s around, I would be happy to say hello. His social media team seems to have been posting old photos for weeks.
In the meantime, perhaps I could help with local organizing. Folks are quite receptive here 🙂 https://t.co/LmmqT8eLDh
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 31, 2021
That response went over like a lead balloon. As National Review explained in a follow-up article, Governor DeSantis was not on vacation. In fact, he was still posting a schedule of regular events. But he was indeed “missing” during the period AOC was referring to. And the reason was that he was accompanying his wife to the hospital for cancer treatments.
“I’d also be happy to share some notes from @GovKathyHochul’s work in NY since he seems to be in need of tips!”
DeSantis’s spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, told Fox News the governor was accompanying his wife, Casey, to cancer treatment on Wednesday, when critics began accusing him of dodging his responsibilities. DeSantis announced in October that Casey had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Pushaw also tweeted out a picture of the governor’s public schedule in response to criticism from MSNBC host Joy Reid.
A Twitter pal summed up the AOC faceplant using far less than the maximum number of characters.
I don't know if DeSantis' staff is just lucky or damn skilled because you couldn't have written a better script for the #WhereIsRon foolishness. They allowed the left the rope they needed to hang themselves.
— NiedermeyersDeadHorse aka NDH (@NiedsG) December 31, 2021
First, allow me to wish the DeSantis family all the best in this battle. Having just been through a fairly serious health scare with my own wife, I know how challenging such times can be.
With that said, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a moment, despite the fact that AOC made herself look entirely foolish and heartless on New Year’s Eve. While everyone is entitled to use their vacation time as they see fit, plenty of politicians – from both parties – have been found doing so at awkward times, generating bad headlines. (The aforementioned Ted Cruz vacation comes to mind.) So AOC didn’t invent this particular style of social media failure.
Also, while AOC’s district sits in New York City and Gotham is going through a large COVID surge, it’s not as if she was going to be doing much to solve it had she remained at home. She’s a congressional representative. She’s also a bartender, not a doctor. If the city’s Health Commissioner turned up in Miami Beach while all of this has been going on you could understand the impulse to break out the pitchforks and torches. But a congresswoman? One might argue that she does less damage when she’s out of town and not down in Washington casting votes.
Still, as already mentioned, this turned out to be one heck of a faceplant. And Ron DeSantis’ office played it exactly correctly. If nothing else, we’ve probably been treated to a demonstration of the reality that political hijinks and stupidity haven’t magically disappeared with the arrival of the new year.