Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson after a “60 Minutes” report suggested he chose to partner with Publix for the vaccine rollout due to donations the company made to his political committee.
The “60 Minutes” report almost immediately sparked backlash and a slew of issues regarding context quickly came to light. CBS News’ show edited out a large portion of DeSantis’s explanation regarding the vaccine rollout, opted not to highlight past donations from Publix nor its donations to Democrats and more. (RELATED: ’60 Minutes’ Flamed Over ‘Hit Job’ Against Gov. DeSantis, Publix On Vaccine Distribution)
DeSantis called the story “a baseless conspiracy theory that was easily debunked,” pointed out that two Florida Democrats backed him up as well. The Florida governor also said that the state has vaccines “3.5 million senior citizens” and accused “60 Minutes” of not wanting “to discuss that.”
“We were the first state to say, ‘we’re doing seniors first. We’re not going to follow the CDC’s recommendation,” DeSantis explained. “And what we have done has worked. They didn’t want to discuss that and obviously they selectively edited the background. They tried to act like there was a conspiracy with Publix, ignoring the fact that other pharmacies were involved before Publix, doing all our long-term care facilities.”
DeSantis also told Carlson that the idea behind giving Publix distribution rights was that Palm Beach County “calculated [that] 90% of their seniors live within 1 1/2 miles of a Publix.” He noted that the Publix distribution “succeeded there” and pointed out that they added a vaccination site after hearing that “there was a need in a more rural part of the county.”
“They didn’t tell you that,” DeSantis lamented.
— Publix (@Publix) April 5, 2021
Carlson suggested that “60 Minutes” was trying to “crush” DeSantis due to his success amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A “60 Minutes” spokesperson told the Daily Caller earlier Monday that DeSantis was asked twice for an interview. The spokesperson said it was standard to edit clips “for clarity” but did not address questions regarding the various other issues pointed out by critics.
“As we always do for clarity, 60 MINUTES used the portion of the Governor’s over 2-minute response that directly addressed the question from the correspondent,” the spokesperson told the Caller.