DeSantis strikes back at ‘60 Minutes’ report, calls it a smear campaign

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Pool)

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference Wednesday in Tallahassee to talk about the “60 Minutes” report that aired Sunday.

The segment claimed Florida’s vaccine rollout was a pay-to-play scheme, and DeSantis said the report only contained part of his response and was edited.

During Wednesday’s press conference, DeSantis fired back, point by point.

“If they’re going to come down here and smear our efforts or smear me or smear great companies in our state, I’m going to hit them back right between the eyes,” DeSantis said.

If you didn’t see the “60 Minutes” story, you can watch it here. Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi did a 13-minute report on what CBS called “corruption allegations clouding Florida’s efforts to vaccinate its residents.”

The program drew a line between campaign contributions from Publix to the governor’s political action committee and the governor’s decision to use Publix to distribute the vaccine.

“As part of the program in Palm Beach County, most seniors could no longer get vaccine appointments through their public health departments, they had to go to Publix instead,” the report alleged.

DeSantis came to Wednesday’s press conference armed with charts showing how he helped hospitals and churches deliver vaccines to people across Palm Beach County, including those in the Glades.

“They edited out that information from their piece. You know why they did that? Because the piece was preordained before they even stepped foot in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.

He and Jared Moskowitz, the state’s director of emergency management, actually approached Walmart first, but Moskowitz said Walmart needed 21 days to be ready while Publix would only take 72 hours.

“The reason why I know this to be false is because the decision to use Publix was made in my office,” Moskowitz said.

“That was their goal, to simply to try to smear Florida, smear me, smear whoever they could in the process,” the governor said.

As for the exchange with the correspondent, DeSantis is adamant “60 Minutes” not airing his entire answer about the allegations misrepresented the facts.

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