Crist and DeSantis present contrasting views, both promise to prioritize seniors

Rep. Charlie Crist and Gov. Ron DeSantis both made public appearances on Thursday in South Florida.

MIAMI – The stark differences between U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Gov. Ron DeSantis were on display again on Thursday when both made references to the U.S. Capitol insurrection during public appearances in South Florida.

Crist described it as a “violent attempt to overturn a fair and free election” during an address outside of Miami’s Freedom Tower. DeSantis said the anniversary of the deadly riot was the “D.C., New York” media’s “Christmas” during a news conference in Palm Beach.

“They are going to take this and milk this for anything they could to try to be able to smear anyone, whoever supported Donald Trump,” said DeSantis, who is running for reelection.

Crist, who represents Florida’s 13th Congressional District, is running against Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried and Sen. Annette Taddeo during the Aug. 23 primary for the Democratic nomination. The winner will run against DeSantis on Nov 8.

On Wednesday, Crist announced his campaign platform during a virtual event. He said it is based on his commitment to expanding Medicaid, which DeSantis strongly opposes.

Crist, 65, described it as the six-point “Action Plan for Florida’s Seniors.” About 20% of Florida residents are aged 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census. Voter turnout is higher among seniors.

Crist, a former Florida governor, promised that if voters elect him his plan will lower the cost of prescription drugs, improve the quality of life of seniors with disabilities, and build “age-friendly” communities.

Crist, a Republican turned Democrat, said his plan will also help to expand access to home care services, support the workers who care for seniors, and protect state employee retirees.

Meanwhile, DeSantis stood behind a “Seniors First” sign to announce that he is prioritizing the delivery of at-home COVID-19 tests to assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and other places where seniors live.

Watch an exclusive interview with Crist at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, during This Week In South Florida.

About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.