Charlie Crist says he is ‘open’ to masking mandate and creates COVID as a key issue in the race against DeSantis

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A recent statement from a Democratic candidate looking at Florida’s governor’s seat has opened the door for COVID-19 to remain a key issue in the race against incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A video obtained by Fox News Digital shows former Florida Gov. and current Congressman Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Telling attendees at a campaign event in Wilton Manors, Florida that if elected, he would be open to a nationwide mask mandate.

A participant in the event asked, “Congressman, thank you for coming. You mentioned the pandemic. Hopefully it’s behind us. But as Florida governor, will you be open to mandate or regulation of masks?”

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“I would be open to doing what scientists advise – not political scientists,” Crist replied. “Yes. I just read an article this morning. I’m glad you picked it up. So I’m going to the airport right after this. I’m going to Orlando and I’m going to wear a mask on the plane. You do not need that anymore, but I do because Florida is experiencing an increase that began this week. And it’s not even Omicron B2. It’s a new variant. “

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
(2014 Getty Images)

This is not the first time Crist has signaled support for COVID mandates. In July 2021, he said he would support mask mandates and shutdowns, similar to strict measures in place at the beginning of the pandemic.

A Florida judge dismissed earlier this month Biden the Administration’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention mask mandate for passengers in public transport.

Crist’s statements about masks come after his Democratic primary opponent Nikki Fried tweeted support for an end to the federal mask mandate.

Earlier in April, a maskless Fried drew a peace sign against his selfie camera in a tweet.

“Peace out to TSA mask mandatebut also peace and respect for others, whether they wear a mask or not, “she wrote the subtitle for the tweet.

“I want to read all your proposals, but mandates have been dropped, vaccines are working, things are getting normal again, and it’s okay for a Democrat to say that – because we have made it possible. I love you,” she wrote.

Nikki Fried, Florida's agriculture commissioner and a Democratic candidate in 2022 for Florida governor, arrives for a ceremony with President Biden.

Nikki Fried, Florida’s agriculture commissioner and a Democratic candidate in 2022 for Florida governor, arrives for a ceremony with President Biden.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

DeSantis, which has never imposed a nationwide mask mandate at any point in the pandemic and is running for another term as governor in 2022, has vehemently opposed enforcing strict COVID restrictions.

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“Florida has led the nation to stand up against misguided federal government policies and fight back against harsh mandates that have no scientific backing,” he said recently after the CDC’s federal transportation mask mandate became invalid.

Florida GOP Vice President Christian Ziegler told Fox News Digital, “Charlie Crist’s ‘open’ to imposing mask mandates is one of the most out of touch positions Crist has ever taken, which really says something.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Welcome Part of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., February 26, 2021.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Welcome Part of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., February 26, 2021.
(REUTERS / Joe Skipper / File image)

“Americans are flocking to Florida, and the Florida Republican Party dominates voter registration, in large part because Governor DeSantis is fighting back and protecting us from ridiculous, anti-scientific mask mandates and COVID tyrants like Charlie Crist,” Ziegler continued.

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Recent vote found that most Americans (62%) do not want mask mandates to return, and only 34% supported them. In addition, only 12% of Republicans said they would support additional COVID restrictions at this point in the pandemic.

In March, Fox News Digital reported that registered Republican voters now exceed Democrats by over 100,000 in Florida for the first time in state history.

The Crist campaign and the Florida Democratic Party did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment on how they view the issue of COVID seats in the gubernatorial race.

It is unclear whether Florida’s Democratic Party will support Fried or Crist on the issue. Florida’s primary election is not until the end of August.

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