Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FLA) blasted reporters over fearmongering criticism of his state flanked by Vice President Mike Pence who witnessed the “Trump-like” tirade against the media.
Speaking to reporters Wedneaday, DeSantis touted Florida’s improving data, citing Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force, who called it the “absolutely best data” among every state in the country.
“So any insinuation otherwise is just typical, partisan narrative trying to be spun and part of the reason is that you’ve got a lot of people in your profession who waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York,” DeSantis scolded the reporters. “‘Wait two weeks, Florida is going to be next. Just like Italy, wait two weeks.’ Well hell, we’re eight weeks away from that and it hasn’t happened!”
DeSantis says any insinuation Florida doesn't have best data is typical partisan narrative.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) May 20, 2020
DeSantis then pointed to Florida’s “lower death rate” than states up north, in the Midwest, and in the South, adding “I was the No. 1 landing spot from tens of thousands of people leaving the No. 1 hot zone in the world to come to my state,” referring to New York City.
“And so we’ve succeeded and I think that people just don’t want to recognize it because it challenges their narrative, it challenges their assumption, so they’ve got to try and find a boogeyman – maybe it’s that black helicopter circling the Department of Health. If you believe that, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell ya,” DeSantis said.
The Florida governor also addressed the reported firing of Rebekah Jones, an official from the state’s Health Department who alleged she was ousted for refusing to not censor negative data that would reflect poorly on the state’s reopening.
“One, she’s not a data scientist. She’s somebody that’s got a degree in journalism, communication and geography,” DeSantis told a reporter. “She is not involved in collating any data. She does not have the expertise to do that. She’s not an epidemiologist. She is not the chief architect of our web portal – that is another false statement. And what she was doing – she was putting data on the portal, which the scientists didn’t believe was valid data. So she didn’t listen to the people who were her superiors. She had many people above her in the chain of command and so she was dismissed because of that and because of a bunch of different things about how she did.”
DeSantis went on to detail how he had also discovered that Jones was under “active criminal charges” in the state of Florida for “cyber stalking and cyber sexual harassment.”
“So I’ve asked the Department of Health to explain to me how someone would be allowed to be charged with that and continue on because this was many months ago,” the governor continued. “I have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, so her supervisor dismissed her because of a lot of those reasons and it was a totally valid way, but she should have been dismissed long before that.”
However, DeSantis can’t brag about everything since more than 1.4 million unique unemployment claims have been submitted, but only half have received compensation.