Ron DeSantis illustrated again today why he’s a leading contender for the 2024 presidential race. The governor released a scathing rebuke of the Associated Press regarding a misleading article that cast doubt on an effective COVID treatment. In a claim that was quickly debunked, the author of the piece attempted to make it seem as if DeSantis was pushing to treatment based on financial interests that one of his donors held.
That couldn’t have been further from the truth as I explained at the time (see AP Hit Piece Accusing Ron DeSantis of Pay-to-Play Scandal Burns to the Ground).
So what’s the real story? Well, it does involve a DeSantis donor, but not at all in the way it was being framed. Rather, the donor is a hedge fund manager that manages almost $40 billion in assets. The company in question makes up a tiny fraction of the total investments to the point where it’s irrelevant. In fact, they aren’t even really investments. Rather they are call options….
…In short, this is another made-up, non-scandal driven by the press’ abject hatred of DeSantis. The fact that this latest attempt was so lazy is sad but not surprising. Even past the initial, false insinuation that something nefarious was going on here, is the argument that DeSantis shouldn’t tout life-saving COVID treatments if one of his donors has an investment in it? That people should be left to die so as to avoid hurting the AP’s sensibilities?
Unfortunately, though not unexpectedly, the social media overlords got involved and banned DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, for daring to push back on the ludicrous story. The AP also released a laughable statement claiming that Pushaw was harassing the author of the hit piece by debunking it because everything must be absurd.
Now, DeSantis has responded directly to the controversy and his statement is a case study in how to handle the left-wing machinations of the news industry.
"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?" -Gov. Ron DeSantis pic.twitter.com/jOxxdX9TAs
— Max (@MaxNordau) August 23, 2021
I’ll start with the merits of DeSantis’ rebuttal.
He’s absolutely right to make an issue of this. The vaccines, even though they work in greatly reducing the risk of serious illness, are not a treatment for COVID. If someone, vaccinated or not, finds themselves in a hospital with the virus, getting another shot of Moderna is not going to do anything for them. At that point, they need proven treatments. That’s what DeSantis has been plugging alongside his promotion of the vaccines.
What the AP did here was incredibly irresponsible. They took a proven treatment and tried to turn it into a partisan wedge, giving the impression to people who might need it that it doesn’t work. As DeSantis asks, “Was it worth it?”
Of course, we’ve seen that happen before. Remember when the media narrative was that hydroxychloroquine was going to kill anyone who took it and how it was just the bad orange man promoting it to help himself politically? Well, studies now prove that HCQ does help save lives when used early on during the infection. How many tens of thousands of people are dead right now because the media, including social media, played politics with a possible treatment?
Moving on to the political ramifications of DeSantis’ statement, it’s another example of how he’s willing to fight for what’s right. Instead of backing down in the face of media pressure as so many Republicans are prone to do, the governor is always willing to engage. Further, he engages in a way that takes the best parts of Trump’s combativeness while mixing it with a more refined, strategic approach. In other words, DeSantis is always going to come with a devastating set of facts that puts the media on their heels when he goes at them. They aren’t used to that.
In short, the Florida man is not, in fact, bad.