Surgeon General asked to leave Tina Polsky’s office after refusing to wear a mask
Florida’s top public health official was asked to leave a state senator’s office this week after refusing to put on a mask in his office.
Senator Tina Polsky, who was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in August, asked the Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and his two legislative assistants to leave his office after Ladapo refused to comply with his request to put on a mask.
“I told him I had a serious health problem,” said Polsky, who will begin radiation treatment for cancer next week.
Polsky said Ladapo asked to meet her in Tallahassee this week; he went around several senators who will be asked to confirm it during the next session.
Polsky said he offered to come out when she asked him to put on the mask, but she refused.
“I don’t want to go out,” she told Ladapo after he made the offer. “I want you to sit in my office and talk to each other. “
Polsky said there was a brief back and forth, and then she finally asked if there was a reason he couldn’t wear a mask.
“He just smiles and doesn’t answer. It is very sufficient, ”recalls Polsky. “And I said to him several times, ‘I have this very serious medical condition.’ And he said, ‘It’s okay,’ like it basically has nothing to do with what we’re talking about.
Eventually, Polsky said she asked Ladapo to leave his office, which he agreed to do, she said. But the senator said before he left, Ladapo remarked: “Sometimes I try to reason with unreasonable people for fun.”
Weesam Khoury, a spokesperson for the health ministry, confirmed the meeting but said Ladapo had not commented.
“Dr. Ladapo agrees to meet with members of the Legislative Assembly, regardless of party affiliation, to discuss politics, even if they disagree on the subject under consideration.” Khoury said in an email. “Meetings between highly esteemed and intelligent, elected and appointed representatives take place all the time, and it’s disappointing that you don’t hear more about them – but that’s probably because that the only time they get flagged is when a real meeting turns into the headline media expected from a column of gossip.
Khoury added, misspelling Polsky’s name, that she and Ladapo “are saddened to learn of Senator Polsky’s recent diagnosis and wish him good luck.”
Polsky said she was taking every precaution possible to protect against infection with COVID-19. A positive test means a delay in her treatment and she doesn’t want to take any risks.
“I really wanted to interview him. I had a lot of good questions, ”Polsky said. “So it’s a shame I didn’t do it. But I felt really uncomfortable.