Governor Ron DeSantis’ office is fighting back against media allegations that the Florida Republican is making special efforts to recruit unvaccinated policemen from other states and “bring deadly COVID into” the Sunshine State.
The governor’s office, in an interview with The Daily Wire, refuted comments made by MSNBC host Joy Reid, who leveled the charge as she named Governor DeSantis “The Absolute Worst” on Monday.
On August 17, DeSantis proposed that the state pay a $5,000 signing bonus to police from other states and make it easier for them to receive certification in Florida.
“Tonight’s ‘Absolute Worst’ is now actually paying to bring deadly COVID into his state. ‘Come to me, COVID,’” said Reid. She then voiced a parody recruitment commercial that offered law enforcement officers from the other 49 states the chance to kill Florida’s senior citizen population:
Are you big on ordering people to comply, but you hate complying with health mandates yourself? Do you dream of arresting people’s ability to breathe while you arrest them? Well, pack up your potentially infectious self, your badge, and your gun, and come on down to Florida. Take this taxpayer bonus money and enjoy constant interactions with vulnerable senior citizens you can breathe on. Every breakthrough case and ICU admission is the virus of freedom spreading. And don’t forget your sunscreen.
Reid said that, although DeSantis specifically pitched his appeal to unvaccinated police, he then lied about it. “Of course, today, because DeSantis has nothing if not consistent, he denied recruiting unvaccinated police, despite literally saying this on Fox News last night,” Reid said.
She then played a video clip of DeSantis saying: “In Florida, our policy is very clear: We’re going to have a special session, and we’re going to say, ‘Nobody should lose their job based off these injections.’”
That quotation says nothing about recruiting police, vaccinated or otherwise.
Joy Reid misrepresented the facts of Ron DeSantis’ offer to bring seasoned law enforcement agents to serve and protect his state, which had nothing to do with vaccination status, the governor’s office says.
“The facts speak for themselves: Governor DeSantis announced this initiative back in August at the Fraternal Order of Police conference, as part of a package of proposals to recruit law enforcement officers from out of state. Vaccine mandates weren’t part of the conversation back then, and vaccination status wasn’t mentioned at all in the governor’s announcement,” DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told The Daily Wire.
In a press release, DeSantis promised to “provide a one-time $5,000 payment to law enforcement officers who are new to the profession in Florida. These bonuses will be eligible to individuals with no prior employment in this state as a sworn law enforcement officer, corrections officer or other institutional security officer. Additionally, the funds are to be repaid to the state if the officer leaves their role prior to 1-year of continuous service.”
The state legislature has yet to pass the package, which would apply the sign-on bonus to all police transferring from other states to local state units and who stay for at least one year, not exclusively to those who have not received one of the COVID-19 vaccinations.
“When the bonus comes into effect, all law enforcement officers newly hired in Florida will be eligible, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated,” Pushaw says. “State and local law enforcement agencies in Florida do not ask for the vaccination status of their employees or recruits, because this is a personal medical decision.”
When asked about allegations that his pitch targeted police around the country who refuse to comply with local vaccine mandates, which includes hundreds of officers nationwide, DeSantis said the headline came “from a corporate outlet, which we all know: corporate media lies.”
“Assume what they tell you is false and then figure out why they’re telling you a false narrative,” DeSantis advised his listeners — a line that CNN’s Brian Stelter pounced on, to his regret. “The reason we’re doing it is because people are being treated poorly in Seattle and Minnesota and New York NYPD. They don’t have the support. They’ve had their funding cut” by their elected leaders eager to defund the police. In “some places they don’t even enforce the law, like in San Francisco, they don’t prosecute people shoplifting. So, you have rampant crime.”
DeSantis said he wanted to both support unappreciated police officers and better provide for the safety of his fast-growing state, which added a congressional district after the results of the 2020 census.
Some officers fled districts implementing left-wing police “reform” policies, including transforming police forces into a “department of public safety,” instituting citizen review panels, and radically reducing the number of cops on the beat.
“I was only in the NYPD for about two years. When I was there, I realized very quickly that the job is not what I expected — only because I wanted to do all these things to help people, but the tools and the laws that were set in front of me did not allow me to do so,” said Officer Matt Spoto, who was recruited from the Big Apple to Lakeland, Florida.
He said he could hardly believe a recruiter’s tales about the radically different way Florida values its peace officers compared to liberal New York City. “He said that you could park your police vehicles in front of your house — and to me, I thought that was mind blowing. I used to have to lie about what I used to do,” he said. “I used to have to tell people I was like a bartender, because I was, it was almost like I was ashamed to be a law enforcement officer.”
The respect, more than the pay, convinced him to move to the Sunshine State.
“I think everybody, regardless of the career that you chose, you want to be appreciated,” he said.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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