July 22, 2022 Updated 9:35 A.M. ET
MIAMI (FLV) – At the first and only Democrat gubernatorial debate for Florida, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, trailing U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in the polls, discussed her experience with Gov. Ron DeSantis in cabinet meetings.
“I’ve had to sit next to him in cabinet meetings – when he has them,” she said.
“Every single time that I’ve actually gone to speak at a microphone when Ron and I are in the same room, he actually gets this, like, head-jerk reaction to him – because I make him nervous. I throw him off,” she continued.
Fried said she has an obligation to “stand up against bullies”: “And I’m watching this guy take away our freedoms, take away our democracy, I had no choice but to stand up and to make sure that he was a one term governor.”
The candidate claimed DeSantis is targeting the LGBT community, black congressional districts, and “rights to protest,”: “that’s fascism.”
On her claims, Fried said these also characterized Democrat frontrunner Crist’s policy platform when he was a Republican: “And unfortunately, so many of these policy initiatives that he is fighting on today was Charlie’s when he was a Republican. That is unacceptable.”
In regards to abortion, Fried painted Crist as having been pro-life for the majority of his life, saying she has been “pro-choice [her] entire life.”
“I have made sure that I stood on the side of women – Charlie cannot say the same thing. He has been pro-life his entire life, including today,” she said, despite Crist’s opposition to Florida’s 15 week abortion ban, his condemnation of the overturning of Roe and Casey, and his calling for Supreme Court Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch to be impeached.
“DeSantis has signed into law an unconstitutional attack on women that strips away their reproductive freedom,” Crist said in April.
On housing and insurance, Fried blamed DeSantis, saying, “He made sure that we have a crisis today, the policies that he put into place when he was governor is why we have an insurance problem here today.”
“Instead of going after corporations and closing loopholes during a time, you took away money that should have gone to affordable housing. Instead, you made sure that people are suffering today because of decisions you made as governor,” she continued.
If elected, Fried vowed to declare a housing emergency on her first day in office and to go after “predatory landlords.”
The Florida primaries take place on August 23rd, just one month away. The debates were hosted by NBC 6 Anchor Jackie Nespral and Telemundo 51 Senior Political Reporter Marilys Llanos, airing in both English and Spanish.
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