As his hunt for medical supplies gets more and more ruthless, Florida Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz took to Twitter — for the second time — to troll mask manufacturer 3M.
"Hello again," Moskowitz begins, sounding reminiscent of an old Lionel Richie love song in his attempt to publicly shame the multi-billion dollar corporation on social media.
Then he immediately pivots to the business at hand: "I have money, you have masks, yet you won’t sell them to me. Stop selling to foreign governments."
The masks in question are the N95 masks that filter out airborne particles that may carry the coronavirus, which causes the deadly COVID-19 respiratory disease.
And this is all because Moskowitz — head of emergency management for the third most populous state — can't get 3M on the horn.
In another tweet, he asks 3M if what he heard from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was true: That foreign companies are showing up at the factory with cash to jump ahead of the line.
“Roughly 280 million masks in warehouses around the U.S. were purchased by foreign buyers on Monday alone, according to Forbes," Maddow tweeted this week. "A FEMA spokesperson said the agency ‘has not actively encouraged or discouraged U.S. companies from exporting overseas.’ ”
This revelation comes at a time when Florida and other states are competing for supplies essential to protecting health care workers on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.
Moskowitz has said he feels like he's "chasing ghosts" and likened the mask market to a Ponzi scheme, while DeSantis said it was like "kabuki."
Despite that, Democratic Party officials and politicians blasted the DeSantis administration over the lack of supplies. (Moskowitz, it should be noted, was a Democratic state representative before he took the emergency management job.)
DeSantis "is not managing supplies, despite his relationship to the president," said U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, a Democrat from Miami, the city hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak in Florida. "We have a significant supply shortage in Florida."
Early in March, DeSantis and Moskowitz requested masks, gowns, gloves, beds, respirators and even field hospitals, which the federal government was quick to order. But Florida has lately struggled to find supplies, even swabs for taking samples to test people who present symptoms of coronavirus.
A week ago Friday, DeSantis ordered a statewide ban on elective and non-emergent procedures to help save protective gowns and masks for those health care workers who are dealing with the highly contagious virus.
Palm Beach Post politics reporter Wendy Rhodes contributed to this report. Contact Jeff Schweers at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jeffschweers.