Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to a deceptively edited interview that CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired Sunday by noting that even Democrats in the state have come to his defense.
DeSantis’ response, which he made during a Monday interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, came after “60 Minutes” claimed in a statement that they edited out the majority of DeSantis’ remarks during an exchange with their reporter for the sake of “clarity.”
“Lost in this is, we vaccinated now three and a half million senior citizens,” DeSantis said last 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. 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.”
“Palm Beach calculated 90 percent of their seniors live within a mile and a half of a Publix,” DeSantis said. “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 said that the segment was “done with malicious intent and a reckless disregard for the truth” and that they “just put their head in the sand and pretended” like the facts that he highlighted “didn’t exist.”
DeSantis highlighted how two Democrats—Jared Moskowitz, Mayor Dave Kerner—came to his defense and shot down the hit piece from CBS.
“@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.”
Kerner said in a statement that the “60 Minutes” segment “was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false.”
“I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and ’60 Minutes’ declined,” Kerner continued. “They know that the Governor came to Palm 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. We also discussed our own local plans to expand mass vaccinations centers throughout the county, which the Governor has been incredibly supportive. We asked and he delivered. They had that information, and they left it out because it kneecaps their narrative.”
“’60 Minutes’ should be ashamed,” Kerner concluded. “I thank the Governor for supporting the residents of Palm Beach County. Because of his efforts, working in coordination with Palm Beach County officials, over 275,000 seniors in our county—which is over 75% of the total senior population—have been vaccinated. I am proud of how our county and state leadership have executed on this important mission, and the results speak for themselves.”