After a hiatus from criticizing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis via her Twitter account, former gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham has resumed her personal attacks.
Graham, who currently serves as assistant secretary of education in the Biden administration, called DeSantis a “cowardly bully” in a recent tweet aimed at the popular Florida governor.
On July 16, Graham tweeted, “For those of you who think Trump is worse than DeSantis, you are wrong. And for those who think DeSantis could take on Trump, also wrong. I know Ron. He is a cowardly, bully. He will turn and run when he can’t use his office as a stage to make himself look fake big. He is tiny.”
In a subsequent tweet, Graham added, “I’ve been thinking about my initial tweet. Obviously, I feel very strongly. What has happened in Florida is heartbreaking. When I first met Ron, I knew something was really off. A key human component was missing. When bad people get elected, bad things happen.”
Graham represented Tallahassee and other parts of North Florida in the U.S. House from 2015 to 2017 and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018 – she lost to Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary. After her loss, it was not long until she began routinely criticizing Governor DeSantis, who beat Gillum in a close general election race.
And people noticed.
On Sept. 26, 2019, Graham tweeted, “Do not believe the @Gov.RONDESANTIS bipartisan spin. He is a mini@realDonald Trump. To the Floridians (Rs, Ds, Is) who have said, ‘He isn’t as bad as I thought he would be.’ I say, ‘No, he is worse.’ Pay attention, Florida. Actions speak louder than words.”
At the time, Graham was a member of the nonpartisan organization Rebuild 85o. The group was launched on November 1, 2018, just three weeks after Hurricane Michael made landfall, to keep North Florida’s recovery front and center and to marshal ongoing support.
After Graham started criticizing DeSantis on Twitter, Ron Sachs, a longtime friend who helped form the organization, had a discussion with Graham about partisan tweets while being part of the leadership of a nonpartisan organization.
It did not work. The attacks continued and the group asked her to resign.
“Gwen apparently felt comfortable about doing it again,” said Sachs. “No one is trying to mute Gwen Graham or prevent her from having her point of view, but you can’t be co-chair of an organization that is not political and be spewing those kinds of political attacks. Her tweets a few days ago amounted to a spitball in the face of the governor. And we can’t have that.”
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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star.