TAMPA, Fla. — Three days after a blistering blow from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, ousted Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren issued his most defiant message yet: “I’m not going down without a fight.”
In a two-minute video posted Sunday morning, Warren made it clear that he will contest DeSantis’ decision to remove him from office.
“He came down to Tampa — to Hillsborough County — to illegally remove me as part of some political circus,” Warren said in the video.
“He did it because he wants to throw women and their doctors in jail based on a law that has already been found to violate Florida’s Constitution. He did it because he wants to enforce a law that discriminates against our LGBTQ community — a law that, at this point, doesn’t even exist. We won’t let him get away with it.”
Warren, a twice-elected Democrat, has frequently spoken out against the Republican governor. He pledged not to pursue certain criminal cases involving transgender minors and abortion — cases that have yet to materialize. DeSantis announced in a Thursday news conference that he was removing Warren because such pledges showed the prosecutor wanted to “put himself publicly above the law.”
An armed sheriff’s deputy accompanied Warren out of his office Thursday before he could read the governor’s order.
“I was blindsided by this plot to illegally remove me from office,” Warren told the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday.
“It shouldn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or Libertarian, everybody should be outraged. This is how our democracy crumbles. Why even have elections at all if the governor just gets to pick who he wants to put in office? That’s what Russia does. That’s what China does. That’s not America.”
There was no immediate response Sunday from DeSantis’ office.
Warren’s next course of action is not entirely clear. He said he is assembling a legal team, and will release more information in about a week. He is also raising funds through Safer Stronger Florida, a Political Action Committee that was created before his reelection campaign.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive, and from all over the country,” Warren said. “People know that this is a dangerous abuse of power that scares anyone who cherishes democracy. … We’ll be hitting back and hitting back hard with a thorough defense of democracy that eviscerates the governor’s nonsensical order.”