White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki used a selectively-edited clip from Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ remarks on Wednesday to falsely suggest that DeSantis has not been actively working to get Floridians vaccinated.
Psaki commented on a clip posted by a leftist Twitter account that sought to portray DeSantis’ remarks in a negative light while excluding the overwhelming majority of what he actually said.
“Joe Biden [has] taken to himself to try to single out Florida over COVID,” DeSantis says in the selectively-edited clip. “This is a guy who ran for president saying he was going to, quote, ‘shut down the virus.’ And what has he done? He’s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide open southern border.”
“23% of new COVID hospitalizations in the U.S are in Florida, and their hospitals are being overwhelmed again,” Psaki claimed. “We are doing everything we can to help the people of FL, and they’re stepping up by getting vaccinated – we hope @GovRonDeSantis joins us in this fight.”
23% of new COVID hospitalizations in the U.S are in Florida, and their hospitals are being overwhelmed again.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) August 4, 2021
The clip excluded DeSantis highlighting the record number of illegal aliens being encountered on the southern border and the impact that such migration is having on the pandemic. Fox News reported on Wednesday that one border city alone says that thousands of infected migrants have been released into the U.S. under Biden.
During the press conference, DeSantis clearly took aim at Biden’s big government approach to fixing the pandemic, which has started to take a negative turn recently under the president’s leadership. A recent poll from Gallup found that Americans’ optimism about the future of the pandemic has cratered in recent weeks, from 89% being optimistic in June to only 45% being optimistic in July. Biden has also been widely slammed, including in mainstream and left-of-center news organizations, for his administration’s confusing and chaotic messaging on the pandemic.
DeSantis took immediate action to get Floridians vaccinated once vaccines were available last year, and he prioritized the elderly, who are the most vulnerable, and residents of long-term care facilities and medical professionals.
DeSantis has repeatedly encouraged people to get vaccinated and has been vaccinated himself. Florida surpassed getting 1 million seniors vaccinated nearly a full week before the end of January 2021. “Florida is full speed ahead with our Seniors First strategy and it is working,” DeSantis said at the time. “The state’s reporting now shows that we have vaccinated more than one million seniors, which accounts for nearly 70% of Florida’s total vaccinations to date and is leading the nation in this all-important effort.”
DeSantis also worked with key entities in the state of Florida — including Walgreens, Walmart, Publix, and CVS Pharmacy — to get vaccine distribution centers up and running at their businesses and continued adding additional vaccine sites later on.
DeSantis’s office responded to false claims made by Psaki earlier in the week when she claimed, “There are steps and precautions that can be taken, including encouraging people to get vaccinated, encouraging people to wear masks, including allowing schools to mandate masks and allowing kids to wear masks, which is not the current state of play in Florida.”
DeSantis’ office noted that the governor, who has three young children, recently signed an executive order allowing parents to make the choice of whether their children will wear masks in school because he feels strongly that parents are the best ones to make decisions about their own children.
“By dismissively ignoring Governor DeSantis’ efforts to protect vulnerable Floridians, Psaki is the one playing politics with the pandemic,” DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told The Daily Wire. “The White House should be more concerned about the flip-flopping of the CDC, which is inadvertently promoting vaccine hesitancy with their confusing, contradictory public communications. Stating that vaccinated people should wear masks and socially distance is implying that the vaccines do not change anything, which is the wrong message for our federal government to be promoting.”
Pushaw highlighted some of the following numbers about DeSantis’s public efforts encouraging Floridians to get vaccinated:
- The governor had over 50 vaccine-specific events, appearing in 27 counties around the state.
- He had over 100 tweets to highlight those efforts.
- The efficacy and value of vaccines have been mentioned specifically at least 1,600+ times in over 100 different public appearances.
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