Commentators and Republicans Criticize Putnam’s Secrecy

Why did Adam Putnam keep secret the fact that his Department gave concealed carry permits to 291 individuals without a full background check?

That question is still dogging Putnam a day after he held an emergency press conference to explain the scandal at the Department of Agriculture. Commentators and even Republicans are openly wondering why Putnam kept this mistake hidden from the legislature and public for so long. Putnam’s shifting story and his struggle to immediately come forward with the facts is raising questions about not just his basic competence but trustworthiness:

Adam Smith, Tampa Bay Times: “It’s hard enough to figure out what an agriculture commissioner does all day to earn $130,000 salary. That Adam Putnam botched one of the only accomplishments as commissioner he routinely touts on the gubernatorial campaign trail — improving the concealed weapons permitting process — is even harder to grasp.”

Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat: “This wasn’t like running out of inspection forms at a roadside agriculture weight station. This was guns, and 291 out of 365 is a failure rate near 80 percent, so Putnam has provided the Democrats with hot ammunition on the biggest issue of this campaign.”

René Pedrosa, Americateve, on This Week in South Florida: ” This mistake to me… is big. Do we believe that no one’s life is at risk? We don’t know that.”

Michael Putney, WPLG, on This Week in South Florida: “You would think that when the inspector general’s reporter was finished you would think that maybe Putnam would have come forward and said we looked into it, we have acted, and here’s the report.”

Marc Caputo, Politico Florida, on This Week in South Florida: “In the end, it’s not the crime so to speak — I’m not saying it’s a crime — it’s the coverup.”

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was Jaime Guttenberg was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: “Governor Scott, I left you a message yesterday regarding Adam Putnam. I know things are busy but hopefully your staff will see this. You must ask him to resign. The more that I read, the more concerning this is. People died because of his failures. Take action today.”

The Ledger [Headline]: “Adam Putnam in crosshairs of controversy”

Republicans on Putnam’s Gun Record from the Weekend

Ron DeSantis, Gubernatorial Candidate and U.S. Congressman: “Adam has spent years campaigning for governor, basically, in this position and the report was very concerning because it seemed like he wasn’t minding the store when we needed him to be there.”

Matt Gaetz, U.S. Congressman: “I was discouraged that Adam Putnam chose to throw his employees under the bus rather than taking some ownership over the fact that there wasn’t adequate oversight and adequate redundancy over something that is so important to public safety. I think that real leaders they step forward and take responsibility when things do not go right and we did not see that from Adam Putnam.”

Republicans on the Perilous Politics of Guns in 2018

Mac Stipanovich, Republican Strategist: “Gun cultism and NRA obeisance are part of the poison candy that Republican nominees must eat in the primary and from which they may well die in a competitive general election.”

Brian Ballard, Republican Lobbyist: “In the general election, the gun issue is not a great thing to run on, probably.”