Florida Governor Ron DeSantis traveled to Tampa last month for a signing ceremony for the regular bill and to answer questions about the worsening coronavirus crisis in the state. He was in and out of public view in about an hour.
But he didn’t leave town right away. His office confirmed this in the days following the event, but did not specify where he had disappeared. His schedule gave no clues.
After the bill was signed, Florida Law Enforcement vehicles, such as those transporting the governor, were spotted on the Davis Islands near the home of quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Is this where DeSantis met on the evening of June 25? Questioned on Saturday, DeSantis did not want to disclose.
“All I can say is that I’m looking forward to the Bucs season,” said DeSantis at a press conference in Bradenton. “I was a fan of Tampa Bay, I grew up in Pinellas County, when they had orange uniforms, you were going to a game, they would play the Bears and there would be more Bears fans than Bucs fans . “
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“It’s frustrating, a little, they have talent. But I think if a man is going to light it up, it will be Tom. “
DeSantis refused to respond to follow-ups, only saying, “I can’t wait to see him play. “
At the time of DeSantis’ visit in June, Hillsborough County was in the middle of its steepest slope in new cases of coronavirus since the reopening of the state, and the rate of positivity in these cases was reaching alarming levels. The severity of the problem intensified in the weeks that followed, with the total number of hospitalizations for coronavirus reaching record levels on Friday.
DeSantis arrived at the Salesian high school Cristo Rey Tampa for his event shortly after 3 p.m. After brief remarks, he took a few photos, signed the bill, asked a handful of questions and jumped into a black SUV.
Her plane only left Tampa for Tallahassee after 8 p.m., spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré confirmed last month. DeSantis’ daily travel schedule does not list additional events, although it is not uncommon these days for the governor to spend hours of his day without account.
For two weeks, the DeSantis office repeatedly refused to answer questions about her whereabouts during the taxpayer-funded trip. Ferré said she could not comment on what the governor had done in her personal time and did not know how he spent the four hours between the event and his flight back to the state capital.
Ferré accompanied DeSantis on his trip to Tampa and flew with him, but said that she “did different things during this period”.
“I was not involved,” said Ferré.
Brady’s publicist did not respond to an email requesting comment.
DeSantis has rolled out the red carpet for athletes and sports leagues who want to start after the pandemic. In May, he gave the green light to Brady, former quarterback Peyton Manning and golf superstars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to host a charity golf event in Hobe Sound.
Brady and DeSantis, two former university athletes, share some similarities, including an affinity for golf and a friendship with President Donald Trump. And they are both under the microscope to find out how they have overcome the current public health crisis.
DeSantis has struggled to contain fears about the surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Florida has become a zero point for the country’s fight against the disease.
Brady, meanwhile, flouted the recommendations of the National Football League Players Association by organizing training with his teammates at Berkeley Preparatory School. He raised his eyebrows for posting on his Instagram account “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” after one of these training sessions, which came after the announcement that two players from Buccaneers and a trainer tested positive for COVID 19.
This week it appeared that Brady’s personal brand had been approved for a $ 350,000 to $ 1 million federal loan to companies affected by the coronavirus closings.
DeSantis, a product of Dunedin and a well-known sports enthusiast, has sprung onto the future signalman of the Hall of Fame since the signing of the splash. When the deadly virus began to spread to communities in Florida in March, DeSantis at a press conference called Brady’s signature “the biggest news.”
“I’m really happy,” said DeSantis. “I have been a Bucs fan all my life. I think they have a chance to compete for the Super Bowl. It seems to be such a distant thing at the moment because we are in this daily battle. “
He mentioned Brady again during a visit to the Tampa General Hospital in April. Hillsborough has one of the fastest growing epidemics in the state and the Bucs’ home, Raymond James Stadium, is adding more capacity for COVID-19 testing in a context of growing demand.
“If we can go far enough,” said DeSantis in April, “we can watch the new Bucs quarterback play.”