Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Flo.) announced this week that his longtime staffer Gary Tibbets has died from the coronavirus.
In a statement, Buchanan said, “Devastated by the death of my longtime staffer Gary Tibbetts, who passed away today at Manatee Memorial Hospital from COVID-19. Gary was the consummate professional and a true public servant in every sense of the word.”
The lawmaker added, “He touched so many lives and was loved and respected by those who knew him.” Tibbits had been with Buchanan’s office since 2011, per ABC.
Coronavirus is surging in southern states and in Florida particularly. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said this week that he believes “the apex in the epidemic states right now, the center of the epidemic, which is California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida, could be two to three weeks away.”
On Thursday, President Donald Trump canceled the 2020 Republican National Convention portion in Jacksonville, Florida.
Convention events will still be held in North Carolina with some delegates.
There was a previous feud with the governor of North Carolina amid COVID-19.
Trump recently claimed that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) told him that he could have only 10 people in the arena. Though Cooper says that is false and that the RNC demanded to hold the convention without face coverings or social distancing.
The death of Congressman Buchanan’s staffer marks the first time that a congressional staffer has died from the coronavirus, according to CBS.