By Renzo Downey
March 3, 2022
‘Now is the time for him to show where he — and Florida — stands.’
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to illuminate the Sunshine Skyway in blue and yellow, Ukraine’s national colors.
The Democrat from St. Petersburg issued the request in a Saturday evening statement, which followed calls from critics for DeSantis to back Ukraine as it defends against Russia’s invasion. Crist, who is running to retake the Governor’s Mansion and deny DeSantis re-election, has slammed the Governor for not mentioning Ukraine during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
Floridians of all backgrounds stand in solidarity with Ukrainians, joining in worldwide protests, Crist noted.
“Despite all this, Governor DeSantis has remained silent on the war in Ukraine and has yet to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions,” Crist said. “Now is the time for him to show where he — and Florida — stands. I am calling upon Governor DeSantis to light the Sunshine Skyway blue and yellow in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, following the examples of cities across the globe. May its glow cast across the world to the resilient people of Ukraine, and light their way to victory and peace.”
Calling Putin a dictator, Crist said Floridians have raised their voices in outrage over Putin’s “atrocities.”
“While the enemies of democracy thought this moment would shatter us, America and its NATO partners have united to enact severe and punishing sanctions and provide aid to the government and people of Ukraine, who are fighting valiantly against a much larger invading force and demonstrating far greater resistance than Putin expected,” Crist said.
DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, has brushed off calls for DeSantis to condemn Putin and back Ukraine, stressing that he is the Governor of a U.S. state, not an international leader. But DeSantis, who could be a leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has condemned China, Cuba, Venezuela and communist regimes for recent and past actions. DeSantis’ comments about China have largely come in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As for other communist regimes, many Floridians have deep ties to those countries.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, another Democrat running in the gubernatorial primary, issued a Cabinet proclamation in support of Ukraine on Friday. Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody has also stated her support for Ukraine.