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Florida senator battling cancer receives death threats for asking state surgeon general to wear a mask

Florida Senator Tina Polsky has received several of death threats and violent messages through her voicemail after she told the state surgeon general to wear a mask — as she goes through treatment for breast cancer.

BOCA RATON, Fla. – State Sen. Tina Polsky has received several death threats and violent messages after she asked the Florida surgeon general to wear a mask — as she goes through treatment for breast cancer.

It all started when she told Dr. Joseph Ladapo to leave her office because he refused to wear a mask, even though Polsky is going through treatment for breast cancer.

Polsky says the story blew up, and the messages began rolling in.

One of the violent tirades lasted for more than a minute and ended with anti-Semitism, as well as a wish for her to die from cancer.

The voicemail: “All I have to say is you’re a sorry [profanity] piece of [profanity] and we don’t care that you have cancer. Step the [profanity] down because we’re going to drag your [profanity] out. We’re going to make sure that we vote every single one of you mother [profanity] like you, you stupid [profanity]. We’re going to get you out.”

State Sen. Tina Polsky has received several death threats and violent messages after she asked the Florida surgeon general to wear a mask — as she goes through treatment for breast cancer.

Polsky was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in September, which is when her staff implemented a mask rule for her office in Tallahassee that, she says, everyone who visited followed — that is, until about two weeks ago, when the new state surgeon general asked for a meeting.

“The surgeon general comes with two aides, and I ask him to put on a mask, and he won’t,” she explained. “And it went back and forth for quite a while. There was more discussion than there should have been.”

Eventually, she kicked him out.

Ladapo later released a statement that said, in part, “Having a conversation with someone while wearing a mask is not something I find productive, especially when other options exist. It is important to me to communicate clearly and effectively with people. I can’t do that when half of my face is covered.”

Polsky called that a “ridiculous excuse,” and stands by kicking him out.

Despite this, the hateful messages keep coming in.

Now, Polsky is calling for Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose wife just announced her own breast cancer diagnosis, to speak up, and tell people to cease the harassment.

“He’s partaking in this hate and this vitriol, so, I think he has a responsibility to speak out and tell people stop this kind of vile behavior.”

DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw said threatening someone is a crime and that “I am at a loss to understand how anyone could insinuate that Governor DeSantis is somehow responsible for this anonymous voicemail.”

Pushaw pointed to a response DeSantis gave Oct. 28 when asked about threats Polsky was receiving.

“There is no room for threats for anything,” DeSantis said. “I mean, it’s a crazy political time. There’s people that do a lot of things that I disagree with. I think the way that people have tried to treat the surgeon general, has been unfortunate. And I don’t think it’s been right. At the same time, I would never countenance any of that [referring to threats sent to Senator Polsky]. I think that that’s wrong.”


About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.