Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took goal on the Associated Press over what he described as a “partisan hit piece” about his state’s promotion of a coronavirus therapy throughout an look on “Hannity.”
“Effectively, it was clearly a partisan hit piece. They’re making an attempt to behave like this isn’t an efficient treatment- it was a weird idea to spice up Regeneron inventory value, however as Sean, President Trump purchased out all the Regeneron final yr, so it is already been paid for by the federal authorities. After we take down from Florida to present to sufferers, there isn’t any cost for it. It has no monetary incentive in any respect. All we’re making an attempt to do is assist folks,” DeSantis advised Fox Information’ Sean Hannity on Monday evening.
The feud between DeSantis and the AP started final week when the information company revealed a narrative that appeared to indicate DeSantis was selling Regeneron’s COVID antibody therapy as a result of a Chicago-based hedge fund donated to a pro-DeSantis political committee additionally owns shares of the corporate. The headline of the widely-panned story learn, “DeSantis prime donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes.”
Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary, then went after the AP on Twitter in addition to AP reporter Brendan Farrington, who authored the story. That prompted incoming AP CEO Daisy Veerasingham to ship a letter to DeSantis accusing his aide of “harassing conduct” and activating an “on-line mob” towards Farrington. DeSantis fired again with a letter of his personal slamming the “botched and discredited” smear towards him.
The governor insisted that Regeneron had been “underutilized” over the previous 9 months and indicated had extra COVID sufferers been conscious of the monoclonal antibody therapy, “a lot of them wouldn’t have wanted to go to the hospital.”
He then boasted the rollout of Regeneron facilities that his administration established statewide, telling Hannity “that is having an impression on maintaining folks out of the hospital.”
“Now, what the AP did by making an attempt to create a false narrative is a few folks might consider the narrative after which suppose that this isn’t a viable therapy for them so in the event that they’re contaminated, they won’t go search a monoclonal antibody and that can in the end enhance their threat of hospitalization,” DeSantis stated. “So the AP knew what they have been doing, they needed to do a political hit on me and the fallout from that’s that there’ll seemingly be individuals who decline life-saving therapy. After which they’ve the temerity to behave like they have been the sufferer once they acquired known as out on their hit piece.”
“Sean, the times of company media with the ability to smear folks with impunity and conservatives do nothing- these days are over. I can inform you in Florida, we’re preventing again with the reality and we’re going to maintain you accountable when you find yourself peddling false partisan narratives,” DeSantis added.
The AP didn’t instantly reply to Fox Information’ request for remark, however a spokesperson beforehand said that the outlet stood by its story.
“The Related Press doesn’t have political opponents. We do accountability reporting about these in energy, no matter political affiliation,” the spokesperson advised Fox Information. “The problem right here just isn’t pushback. It’s harassment. A public servant whose job it’s to work with the press inspired a harassment marketing campaign towards our journalist, and that’s unacceptable.”
The AP’s story acknowledged the drug is very efficient and has been touted by the Biden administration as effectively. The story additionally famous the DeSantis donor’s hedge fund, Citadel, had a smaller share in Regeneron than BlackRock, which has donated extra to Democrats, and that Citadel’s funding in Regeneron “is a tiny fraction of its total $39 billion in investments.”
Moreover, the story acknowledged it is “commonplace for hedge funds to have a variety of investments” however revealed the story with the damaging framework anyway.
Critics blasted the AP, a lot of them evaluating the story to the “hit piece” that CBS Information’ “60 Minutes” ran in April suggesting that DeSantis was concerned in a “pay-for-play” scheme involving his administration giving first entry to the COVID vaccine to the grocery retailer chain Publix following a contribution to his marketing campaign.
Fox Information’ David Rutz and Brian Flood contributed to this report.