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DeSantis Defends Press Sec. from AP’s Whining; Attacks Hit Piece Against Him

'You cannot recklessly smear your political opponents and then expect to be immune from criticism...'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back against the Associated Press this week, accusing the publication of spreading potentially deadly misinformation, after AP incoming CEO Daisy Veerasingham accused his press secretary of threatening a reporter.

Veerasingham sent a letter to DeSantis last week demanding that he put a stop to alleged “harassing behavior” from his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, after she rebuked AP reporter Brendan Farrington.

The reporter wrote a hit piece suggesting DeSantis has been pushing the therapeutic drug Regeneron for COVID-19 treatment, because a third-party hedge fund that once donated to his campaign invested in the company that is producing it.

DeSantis slammed the hit piece, which was based on “zero evidence” of pay-to-play political rewards for financial considerations.

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“I assumed your letter was to notify me that you were issuing a retraction of the partisan smear piece you published last week,” DeSantis wrote in a response to Veerasingham. “Instead, you had the temerity to complain about the deserved blowback that your botched and discredited attempt to concoct a political narrative has received.

“The ploy will not work to divert attention from the fact that the Associated Press published a false narrative that will lead some to decline effective treatment for COVID infections.”

DeSantis said the AP should have expected “vigorous pushback” to the story since it was an obvious attempt at a political smear.

“You cannot recklessly smear your political opponents and then expect to be immune from criticism,” he wrote. “You succeeded in publishing a misleading, clickbait headline about one of your political opponents, but at the expense of deterring individuals infected with COVID from seeking life-saving treatment, which will cost lives. Was it worth it?”

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Pushaw also denied that anyone in DeSantis’s office threatened the AP reporter and clarified the governor does not support such threats.

However, she said his story deserved criticism “because it was false.”

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