Florida Gov. Ron Desantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday for what he labeled a “neglect of duty” and “incompetence.” Specifically, Desantis pointed to Warren’s reluctance to go after people who seek and provide abortions or on doctors that provide gender-affirming care to transgender people, CNN reports
This is just another instance where Desantis has gone after people or corporations who have disagreed with his policies. He ended Disney’s special tax status over their voiced opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. A day earlier, Desantis made comments at a press conference stating doctors who “disfigure” children with gender dysphoria through operations should be sued.
Katherine Imborek of the Association of American Medical Colleges refuted Desantis’s statements and said gender-affirming care “decreases depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts,” while adding that it is “a medical necessity, like providing insulin to a person with diabetes.”
Warren has been the State Attorney in Hillsborough County since 2016 and was elected twice. Desantis’s move to suddenly remove Warren from his post drew immediate criticism from Democratic lawmakers.
Minority Leader Sen. Lauren Book said DeSantis was “behaving more like a dictator than ‘America’s governor.’” And Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democratic candidate for governor, called Warren’s suspension “a politically motivated attack on a universally respected state attorney democratically elected to exercise prosecutorial discretion.”
Warren has been an advocate for criminal justice reform and overturning wrongful convictions. As CNN points out, Desantis directed staff to review whether any state attorneys in Florida had taken it “upon themselves to determine which laws they like and will enforce.”
This is what got Warren on Desantis’s radar. However, in an issued statement, Warren is not backing down at all. The state attorney even appeared at a news conference after the suspension was announced. Warren spoke about the ongoing development of a murder investigation.
“Today’s political stunt is an illegal overreach that continues a dangerous pattern by Ron DeSantis of using his office to further his own political ambition. It spits in the face of the voters of Hillsborough County who have twice elected me to serve them, not Ron DeSantis.
“In our community, crime is low, our Constitutional rights—including the right to privacy—are being upheld, and the people have the right to elect their own leaders—not have them dictated by an aspiring presidential candidate who has shown time and again he feels accountable to no one. “Just because the governor violates your rights, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”