When his representative he tweeted that Florida Gov. Ron DeSandis would make a “BIG announcement” that would result in “the liberal media meltdown of the year,” seemed like it might have something to do with his presidential intentions.
It didn’t — and it did. DeSantis announced at a press conference that he had suspended Hillsborough County State’s Attorney Andrew Warren, a duly elected Democrat with ties to George Soros—further casting himself as a champion against all things “woke.”
Warren’s selective prosecutions led him to be seen as soft on crime. He has also announced that he will not impose restrictions on abortions and sex-affirming treatments for minors that he believes are unconstitutional in Florida.
“When you flagrantly violate your oath, when you’re above the law, you’ve breached your duty, you’ve neglected your duty, and you’ve demonstrated a lack of ability to be able to reform those duties,” DeSantis said.
Interestingly, DeSantis seemed more bothered by something Warren did that has nothing to do with violent crime.
“In June 2021, [Warren] signed a letter saying he would not impose any ban on sex-change operations for minors,” DeSantis said. “And that’s a conversation that we’re having mostly administratively and through medical licenses in Florida, but other states have imposed penalties on people who would carry them out, which really disfigure these young kids. And he said it doesn’t matter what the legislature does in the state of Florida.”
In other words, DeSantis had removed an elected district attorney because he said he wouldn’t enforce a law that doesn’t even exist. But it allowed DeSantis to once again make a public political issue about what he calls the “private parts” of transgender children.
During the press conference, DeSantis called Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister to the floor. Chronister dutifully praised the governor and condemned Warren, telling a botched justice story involving a terrorized woman and gun suspect of murder and gang involvement.
“Thank you, governor, we are extremely grateful for the state of Florida and all law enforcement to have you,” Chronister said. “Governor DeSantis Holds State’s Attorney Warren Accountable”.
“It spits in the face of the voters of Hillsborough County who have twice elected me to serve them, not Ron DeSandis.“
— Andrew Warren
But just two years ago, at another press conference, Chronister himself had stood by Warren and trumpeted the arrest of a local vicar who had insisted on holding in-person church services in violation of state and federal public health COVID emergency orders.
“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week at risk,” Chronister said of Ronald Howard-Browne, pastor of The River at Tampa Church Bay.
Warren added, “Make no mistake, this issue is about the health and safety of our community. To put your parishioners at risk in a time of emergency like this is not only reckless, it’s illegal.”
In fact, Warren was a fan of Chronister, crossing party lines to praise the Republican sheriff in the 2018 election, saying, “Sheriff Chronister is a true partner in making Hillsborough County a safe place for our citizens. Most importantly, Sheriff Chronister is a friend and trusted advisor that I know our entire community can count on.”
At the time, Chronister expressed his gratitude to Warren, saying, “The State’s Attorney works closely with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office not only to prosecute crimes and seek justice for victims, but also to protect rights of all our citizens. Having the support of State’s Attorney Andrew Warren is certainly a boost to our campaign.”
When the pandemic hit, these two elected law enforcement officials stood together advocating for measures based on real science. But just two days after Warren and Chronsiter jointly accused the pastor of endangering others, DeSantis signed an executive order designating houses of worship as “essential services” exempt from the ban on indoor public gatherings.
Maze DeSantis complained to the press, saying he may be “caving in to powerful interests”, calling him “weak…spineless”.
However, the charges against the pastor were dropped. DeSantis has questioned other COVID precautions, notably including mask and vaccine mandates, decrying them as challenges to our God-given liberties. He continued to act as if COVID was nothing to worry about, even as deaths on his watch during the pandemic in Florida reached 77,823.
At last count, Hillsborough’s deaths from COVID in the pandemic totaled 3,978.
Now that the countdown has slowed and many people imagine the pandemic is over, the big issue seemingly everywhere is not COVID, but crime. And with Warren suspended Thursday, DeSantis was trying to portray himself as standing up against a nationwide epidemic of lawlessness.
“We govern ourselves based on a constitutional system and the rule of law, but we’ve seen across the country in recent years, individual prosecutors take it upon themselves to determine what laws they like and will enforce and what laws they don’t like and then they don’t,” he said at the press conference. “And the effects of that in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have been devastating.”
DeSantis said he asked his staff to “look around the state of Florida and make sure this doesn’t happen here.” He said they “talked to law enforcement all over the state … And it all came back to this area here in the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County.”
The talk of specific unsolved crimes there came from Warren’s one-time partner in the fight against COVID deaths, Chronister. He was followed by several other law enforcement officials who charged that Warren was too often too selective in his prosecutions.
“Andrew Warren is a crook,” former Tampa Police Chief Brian Duggan.
Warren had scheduled a news conference Thursday for a man named Robert DuBoise, who spent nearly four decades behind bars before being exonerated and set free in 2020. Warren instead tweeted a response to DeSandis’ action.
“Today’s political stunt is an illegal overreach that continues a dangerous pattern of Ron DeSantis using his office to advance his own political ambition,” he tweeted. “It spits in the face of the voters of Hillsborough County who have twice elected me to serve them, not Ron DeSandis.”
Warren was recently the choice of 53.4 percent of the electorate.
“Just because the governor is violating your rights doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” he added.