Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose political star continues to rise, has come under fire from the news media in recent months over his handling of the condominium collapse and the coronavirus pandemic.
A reporter for The Washington Post recently tweeted a claim that DeSantis is refusing to extend an invitation to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of the condominium collapse in Surfside, Fla.
“There's a saying in emergency management: The first 24 hours are the only 24 hours,” wrote Post reporter Hannah Dreier on Saturday. “FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn't get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day.”
A spokesperson for DeSantis said in response: “This is missing important context, [Dreier] never asked me for comment. emergency response started within minutes of the disaster led by Miami Dade County, amazing first responders. county mayor signed local emergency dec 4:40 & [DeSantis] signed eo less than 1hr later.”
The Post previously published an opinion piece that said “even by Florida standards, Gov. Ron DeSantis is a covid-19 catastrophe,” and said the governor “conveniently, even diabolically, airbrushed covid-19 out of public life.”
Earlier this year, a report on CBS’ “60 Minutes” claimed that DeSantis’ political action committee had an unethical connection with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in his state. According to the report, the grocery store chain Publix allegedly managed to get a deal to distribute doses of the vaccine in Palm Beach County because the company donated $100,000 to the governor’s reelection campaign.
DeSantis claims that the report selectively edited a response the governor gave to a question about the deal, which he says omitted context that shows that Florida’s emergency management division made the decisions on how and where to distribute vaccines.
"Florida partnered with Publix because they were ready to administer the vaccine in their pharmacies in a matter of days, whereas other pharmacies were not ready,” the governor’s office said in a statement at the time.
"Not utilizing this partnership with Publix as soon as possible would have been malpractice," the statement added, "especially as the state was racing to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible."
The governor, Publix, and the Democratic mayor of Palm Beach County and the Democratic director of the Florida emergency management division all criticized the report from “60 Minutes,” but CBS has not backed down.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz tweeted after the report aired: "I said this before and I'll say it again. [Publix] was recommended by [Florida Division of Emergency Management] and [Florida Department of Public Health]. Period! Full stop!"
"No one from the Governors office suggested Publix," he added. "It's just absolute malarkey."
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