Florida Democrats staged a walkout on Wednesday after a committee voted to advance the confirmation of Joseph Ladapo.
Nominated by Gov. Ron DeSantis, Ladapo is now a step closer to being confirmed as the state’s surgeon general.
According to CNN, Democrats became frustrated by Ladapo’s”lengthy, circular responses.” They just could not get a straight answer out of him.
“We don’t feel that we’re getting any answers,” state Sen. Lauren Book told reporters per the Tampa Bay Times. “The Florida Senate Democrats in this committee now are going to abstain, walk out and come back when we have more business.”
“What I hear is arrogance and polite avoidance,” Sen. Janet Cruz said at the time, adding that Ladapo’s answers were “mired in words upon words and nonsense.”
During the hearing, the state’s top doctor tried to bypass questions about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. When pressed about whether vaccines work against preventing the virus, he eventually conceded that the vaccines had a “relatively high effectiveness for the prevention of hospitalization.”
Ladapo, the Department of Health leader, has previously faced backlash for his response to the pandemic. He informed Floridians that it is “really time for people to be living, to make the decisions they want regarding vaccination, to enjoy the fact that many people have natural immunity.”
According to a USA Today report, natural immunity plus vaccination provides more robust protection against the virus. Ladapo is also not in favor of government-imposed vaccine mandates.
“What is the data, what is the science behind these vaccine mandates. Well, as we know these vaccines are not preventing transmission,” he said. “Sure, they reduce the likelihood of preventing it, but even that is questionable depending on how far out you go, but they are not preventing it.”
Ladapo’s confirmation still has to set through one more hearing from another Senate committee before the full state Senate takes up his confirmation.