The Democratic mayor of Palm Beach County slammed CBS on Monday for airing an “intentionally false” report on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and his state’s vaccination program.
Mayor David Kerner issued a statement after CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired a clip of DeSantis rebutting accusations of a pay-to-play scheme between himself and Publix, a supermarket chain common in Florida. CBS edited out almost all of the substance of DeSantis’ response when it aired the exchange between the Republican governor and CBS reporter Sharyn Alfonsi.
“I watched the ’60 Minutes’ segment on Palm Beach County last night and feel compelled to issue this statement. The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false,” Kerner wrote. “I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and ’60 Minutes’ declined.”
“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,” the mayor continued. “We asked and he delivered. They had that information, and they left it out because it kneecaps their narrative.”
Kerner went on to accuse CBS and the media in general for using the pandemic as a wedge to divide Americans along political lines. He also praised DeSantis and his administration for working with Palm Beach County officials to protect its elderly residents who were most at risk of COVID-19.
“We have confronted this pandemic for over a year. Our residents, like all Americans, are tired. And the media is making it worse. They are hellbent on dividing us for cheap views and clicks. ’60 Minutes’ should be ashamed,” Kerner said.
“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,” he concluded. “I am proud of how our county and state leadership have executed on this important mission, and the results speak for themselves.”
Publix has also issued a statement refuting Alfonsi’s contention that the supermarket chain donated to DeSantis’ campaign to score a contract to distribute vaccines.
“The irresponsible suggestion that there was a connection between campaign contributions made to Governor DeSantis and our willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts is absolutely false and offensive,” Publix said. “We are proud of our pharmacy associates for administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine to date and for joining other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to do our part to help our communities emerge from the pandemic.”