- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2020

A Miami Herald columnist on Sunday walked back a tweet that said packed beaches in Florida “should work nicely to thin the ranks” of supporters of President Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

“Packed beaches should work nicely to thin the ranks of Trump/DeSantis/Gimenez supporters in #Florida who value money over health,” Fabiola Santiago wrote in a now-deleted tweet from her verified account.

Ms. Santiago was referring to Ms. DeSantis allowing local municipalities to reopen their beaches in areas where it can be done safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. The result, The Miami Herald reported, was crowded beaches in places such as Jacksonville over the weekend.

The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., slammed Ms. Santiago for her tweet and accused The Miami Herald of “flagrant bias.”

“This tweet from a Miami Herald columnist tells you all you need to know about her, and based on their hiring choices, likely everything you need to know about the Miami Herald as well,” Mr. Trump Jr. tweeted. “Their flagrant bias continues to go on unchecked. Disgusting.”

In another tweet, which remains active on her account, Ms. Santiago shamed a group of people congregating in Miami Lakes as “the red-hatted listening to their masters.”

Ms. Santiago later deleted her initial tweet and apologized for her phrasing.

“I deleted the tweet commenting on people at the beach because it didn’t accurately convey my sentiment and I want to apologize for the phrase I used that offended many people,” she wrote. “Regardless of political differences, I would never wish any harm on anyone.

“In fact, my intent was to sound an alarm about prematurely opening up the country and the state,” she added. “I was trying to open eyes, minds and save lives, not create a controversy about me instead of the issue, which merits discussion. #StayHome #BeSafe #practicesocialdistancing.”

Miami Herald publisher and executive editor Mindy Marques also apologized, saying Ms. Santiago’s tweet “crossed the line.”

“While columnists, unlike reporters, have broad latitude to express their opinions, the comment by @fabiolasantiago earlier today crossed the line of acceptable commentary and does not reflect the views of the @MiamiHerald,” Ms. Marques tweeted late Sunday. “We apologize and will follow up internally.”

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