ICYMI: Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried, Phil Ehr, and Karen Butler Discuss Trump’s Failed COVID-19 Response and Disregard for U.S. Service Members and Veterans

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“Last night, Trump was supposed to come out on stage and have a debate…and instead of offering a clear path forward of how we are going to beat COVID-19…his message to the American people: ‘we are learning to live with it.’ That is an insult to the 220,000 lives that have been lost and the loved ones who are still grieving.”- Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services 

PENSACOLA, FL – Today, ahead of Donald Trump’s rally in Pensacola, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried virtually joined veterans Karen Butler and Phil Ehr to discuss Trump’s disregard for the lives of veterans and the health and safety of the American people. They called out Trump’s failed leadership during the pandemic and as Commander-in-Chief, urging Pensacola area voters to make their voices heard in this election. 
In addition, the Escambia County Democratic Party held a “Ridin’ with Biden” car parade in Pensacola to show their support for the Biden-Harris ticket and encourage voters to cast their ballots early. 

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Highlights from the Virtual Press Conference 
Commissioner of Agriculture, Nikki Fried
“The people of our state are sick and tired of the messaging that is coming out of the White House that is divisive, that has no plan of how to get through COVID-19 and how to get our economy back on track.”
“We need a president that we can trust. A president who is gonna put the health and safety of our country first…Joe Biden, who every single day of his entire life has rolled up his sleeves and has made sure that he is accountable to the people of our country…has had a record of strong, steady leadership during crises before.”
“[Trump] has put the American people in danger every single day, and he didn’t tell us the truth. And you know what? The American people deserve better.”
“Last night, Trump was supposed to come out on stage and have a debate…and instead of offering a clear path forward of how we are going to beat COVID-19…his message to the American people: ‘we are learning to live with it.’ That is an insult to the 220,000 lives that have been lost and the loved ones who are still grieving.”

Phil Ehr, retired U.S. Navy Commander and candidate for CD-1
“When we have credible reports of Russian bounties [on US troops], as your Congressman, I would not rest until we get a good explanation…and a national response to that reality of Russians paying for the heads of American troops…That needs to be forefront because that is us, that is our blood and those are our treasured patriots.”
“To [Trump’s] supporters who are gonna gather at the airport for his fly-in and fly-out…do not abandon the doctors and nurses and first responders because your lack of preventative measures would be a betrayal to them and it would be an abandonment to the rest of us.”

Karen Butler, U.S. Air Force Veteran and candidate for Florida Senate District 1
“We deserve a Commander-in-Chief who is there to support our military and not to use them as pawns or to be targeted for bounty.”
“[Trump] has held up much-needed resources due to the coronavirus, and specifically in Florida, where families have lost thousands of members.”
“[Trump] says Joe Biden hasn’t done anything in the last 47 years, but I’m here to tell you from personal experience…[Biden] has always been there for the military.”
“The efforts of myself and Mr. Ehr – let me tell you – we’re putting a dent in [the Trump] stronghold. It is crumbling. We are making a difference and we need everybody to get out there and vote, vote early, make sure there are no errors and we have no lines. We need you.


STATEMENTS: Commissioner Fried and Polk Co. Candidate Jared West on Pence’s Visit to Lakeland, Florida 

One day after a report that the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned Florida is in the “orange zone” for increased COVID cases, Vice President Mike Pence is returning to Florida to host more potential super spreader rallies. Yesterday, the United States reported the largest single-day increase of new coronavirus cases, surpassing the previous record from July. In response to this visit, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Jared West, candidate for HD-41 in Polk County, released the following statements about Pence’s rally in Lakeland: 

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried 
“Polk County has some of the highest unemployment rates in the state, but Mike Pence probably won’t be mentioning that when he’s in town today. Florida’s economic crisis has been fueled by the Trump administration’s inability to manage the coronavirus pandemic, and Florida’s workers have paid the price. Vice President Pence, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is once again flouting his own expert’s recommendations to host more potential super spreader rallies in Florida. Pence’s visit is only reminding voters that this administration has no interest or ability to control the pandemic. We deserve better and that’s exactly what we’re going to get if Floridians turn out to cast their ballots for Joe Biden by November 3rd.”

Jared West, candidate for Florida House District 41, Polk County 
“A visit from Mike Pence to give a speech full of empty campaign promises isn’t going to mean anything to Polk County residents after the Trump-Pence administration has already proven they can’t deliver for us. Trump promised us he had the virus under control — more than 16,300 Floridians have died. Trump promised us he would come up with a ‘much better’ health care plan than the Affordable Care Act — that plan is still nonexistent. Trump promised he’d create jobs — 26,050 workers in Polk County are out of work. The only way we can end this cycle of promises made, promises broken is to vote for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Democrats all the way down the ticket. We need real solutions on health care, the coronavirus pandemic, and the unemployment crisis in Florida, and that’s exactly what we’re going to get if we make a plan, and vote.”


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