Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted CBS and “60 Minutes” following the airing of a highly misleading segment on Sunday in which he was basically accused of engaging in a “pay-for-play” arrangement with grocery chain Publix.
The segment, which has been highly criticized by other members of the media and even some Democrats, portrayed DeSantis as rewarding Publix with vaccine distributor privileges after the company donated $100,000 to the GOP governor’s political action committee.
Also, DeSantis told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that a clip 60 Minutes showed of its correspondent accusing the governor of the shady arrangement was selectively edited to cut out a significant portion of his explanation as to why Publix actually got involved in vaccine distribution.
“Lost in this is, we vaccinated now three and a half million senior citizens,” DeSantis said Monday night.
“We were the first state to say we’re doing seniors first. We’re not going to follow the CDC’s recommendation. And what we have done has worked. And they didn’t want to discuss that. And obviously, they selectively edited the background,” he continued.
“They tried to act like there was a conspiracy with Publix, ignoring the fact that other pharmacies were involved before Publix, doing all our long-term care facilities and ignoring the fact that I met with the county mayor, who’s now as a Democrat, who said what ’60 Minutes’ has done is bunk,” he noted further.
DeSantis is likely referencing Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, who issued a statement on Monday after watching the segment the night before in which he defended the governor.
“The reporting was not just based on bad information — it was intentionally false,” Kerner said in a statement. “I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts but 60 Minutes declined.
Oh boy. Democrat mayor of Palm Beach County says 60 Minutes' "reporting was not just based on bad information — it was intentionally false." Says he offered to refute 60 Minutes' half-cooked conspiracy theory based on personal knowledge and "60 Minutes declined." pic.twitter.com/yJ9aRa6RMy
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) April 5, 2021
“They know that the Governor came to Paul Beach County and met with me and the County Administrator and we asked to expand the state’s partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County,” Kerner added.
“We also discussed our own local plans to expand mass vaccinations [sic] centers throughout the county, which the Governor has been incredibly supporting,” he continued. “They had that information, and they left it out because it kneecaps their narrative.”
Also, Jared Moskowitz, Florida’s Democratic emergency management director, defended DeSantis as well.
“@60Minutes I said this before and I’ll say it again. @Publix was recommended by [FL Division of Emergency Management] and [Florida Dept. Health] as the other pharmacies were not ready to start,” Moskowitz tweeted. “Period! Full Stop! No one from the Governor[‘]s office suggested Publix. It’s just absolute malarkey.”
“Palm Beach calculated 90 percent of their seniors live within a mile and a half of a Publix,” DeSantis told Carlson. “So when we put it in there, their numbers started going through the roof. So it succeeded there. But what they didn’t tell you also, Tucker, is when there was a need in a more rural part of the county, like near Lake Okeechobee, we set up a separate site in a small town called Pahokee.
“They didn’t tell you that, they didn’t tell you that we were doing African American church vaccination drives before Publix ever gave a single shot. They didn’t tell you that. They didn’t tell you that hospitals were doing shots starting in the third week of December because it didn’t fit the narrative. They don’t believe in facts,” DeSantis added.