The Miami Herald is under fire after publishing a report stating that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was disinvited from an event over his “anti-immigrant” views despite statements from DeSantis’ office and event organizers saying there were no plans for the governor to attend.
The Herald published a report on Thursday, titled “Investment and immigration conference cancels DeSantis’ speech after objections raised.” The article stated that EB-5 Investors magazine disinvited DeSantis from giving the event’s keynote address and speaking on a panel “after some participants and sponsors objected to his immigration policies.”
The basis for the article came from an email sent by Ira Kurzban, a prominent Miami immigration lawyer and invited speaker to the conference. Kurzban told the organizers that he would be rescinding his acceptance to attend the conference in protest of the governor’s attendance.
“I was seriously considering your kind invitation until I was informed that you have decided to ask Ron DeSantis to be the keynote speaker at the conference,” Kurzban told EB-5 in an email he shared with the Herald. “Mr. DeSantis, also known as a mini-me for his Trump-like tactics, has engaged in the most virulent anti-immigrant conduct we have ever seen by a public official in this state.”
Neither DeSantis’ office nor EB-5 corroborated Kurzban’s claim. DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw later flatly denied the article’s claim and tweeted a statement from the magazine also denying that DeSantis had ever been scheduled to speak at the conference. The magazine blamed a “staff error,” though was not specific as to how such an error contributed to the Herald’s story.
“Eb5investors.com is excited to host a conference in the great state of Florida. The Governor was never confirmed to participate, nor was he uninvited. We made a staff error and are regretful. It’s unfortunate that our event was used by media for political gain,” EB-5 said in an email posted to Twitter by Pushaw.
“[S]top spreading disinformation. Have you received any official confirmation, evidence or even a comment on record from EB5 organizers that Governor DeSantis was ever scheduled to speak at the conference? No. You have not. Delete & retract,” Pushaw said in a tweet responding to the Herald journalist who wrote the story.
According to the Herald, while DeSantis’ team and EB-5 have both denied the story, a Wednesday email to conference attendees says that the event organizers disinvited DeSantis after pushback.
“As a bipartisan organization, the keynote was simply chosen as the highest figure in the state of our event, and we have historically had keynotes from both sides of the aisle,” the email says, according to the Herald. “With that, a decision has been made to reconsider DeSantis. He will not be joining our event in Miami.”
The Herald has yet to update or retract its story, and the article has been spread on other outlets and shared by other reporters. After a reporter for Politico tweeted out the story, Pushaw slammed the outlet for sharing debunked news.
“Politico now spreading the debunked falsehood. Incredible how journalists in the Florida Capitol press corps trip over themselves to defend shoddy ‘journalism.’ [The Herald’s reporter] never verified her story; it is inaccurate, Gov. DeSantis was never scheduled to speak so how could it be canceled?” Pushaw asked.