‘Irresponsible Mockery Of Journalism’: DeSantis Team Fires Back At AP ‘Hit Piece’ On Governor’s Promotion Of COVID-19 Drug

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Greg Price Contributor
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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary fired back at The Associated Press for a Tuesday story attempting to link his promotion of a coronavirus antibody treatment to a pay-to-play.

The report headlined, “DeSantis top donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes,” implied that DeSantis’ recent promotion of a COVID-19 drug from Regeneron was due to the fact that the CEO of a hedge fund that owns shares in the company was a major donor to a political committee that supports the governor.

“DeSantis has been flying around the state promoting a monoclonal antibody treatment sold by Regeneron, which was used on then-President Donald Trump after he tested positive for COVID-19. The governor first began talking about it as a treatment last year,” AP reporter Brendan Farrington wrote.

“Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, has $15.9 million in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc., according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin has donated $10.75 million to a political committee that supports DeSantis — $5.75 million in 2018 and $5 million last April,” the story went on to say.

The AP, however, went on to acknowledge that “it’s not unusual for hedge funds to have a wide range of investments. And BlackRock, which has primarily donated to Democratic candidates, though has also donated substantially to Republicans, has a large holding in the company – more so than Citadel.”

BlackRock is Regeneron’s second largest shareholder while Citadel does not crack the top 100.

The story also did not mention how Griffin donated $500,000 to President Joe Biden’s inaugural committee. Like DeSantis, Biden has also touted Regeneron drugs due to the fact that they have been shown to cut rates of hospitalization and death by roughly 70%. (RELATED: ‘No Restrictions And No Mandates’: DeSantis Announces Executive Order Protecting Children From Mask Mandates In Schools)

DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw ripped the story in a series of tweets as “cheap political innuendo” and accused the AP of knowing it wasn’t a legitimate story before it was published. Pushaw also alleged that the story originated from a deleted tweet that was promoted by a political consultant who works for Florida Agricultural Commisisoner Nikki Fried, a candidate in the 2022 Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary.

“It’s incredible— the corporate media insists for weeks that Governor DeSantis is ‘doing nothing’ about COVID. But when he promotes and expands access to life saving treatment for all Floridians, the same media attacks him for it,” Pushaw said in a statement to the Daily Caller. “This irresponsible mockery of journalism is reprehensible, because when a clinically proven treatment is unduly politicized by outlets like AP, it might discourage some COVID patients from getting the treatment that could save their lives.”

“Disinformation has consequences, and I appreciate all reporters who do their duty to inform the public of free, effective Regeneron treatment,” Pushaw concluded.

DeSantis was also the subject of a widely criticized piece from 60 Minutes in April, which accused him of choosing Publix to partner with the state for the vaccine rollout due to donations the company made to his political committee. (RELATED: DeSantis: Media Elevates ‘Wrong’ Liberal Heroes To Sainthood)

The story from CBS was panned by both supporters of DeSantis, as well as Democratic elected officials in Florida.