After incendiary remarks in Manatee, Ron DeSantis takes defense to Fox News
Image via Colin Hackley.

One Commissioner said the latest pod serve "the whitest demographic, the richest demographic."

Appearing on Fox News Wednesday evening, Gov. Ron DeSantis struck back at critics of the state’s vaccine rollout.

The Governor made national news for suggesting Wednesday morning that the state could divert vaccines to more grateful counties as the state looks to vaccinate seniors.

In the evening, he took to Fox News’ Ingraham Angle with Laura Ingraham to tout the state’s COVID-19 response and to strike back at his critics.

“I was criticized by the same types of folks for putting seniors first,” DeSantis said. “Well, guess what. Florida’s seniors are glad that we put them first.”

Controversy arose locally after Manatee County Commission Chair Vanessa Baugh on Thursday announced dedicated vaccine shipments would serve two zip codes, 34202 and 34211. Those happen to be the wealthiest zip codes in the county. They also lie within Baugh’s County Commission district.

During the morning press conference in Lakewood Ranch, reporters hounded the Governor with questions about the local rollout.

“If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, we are totally fine doing this in counties that want it,” DeSantis said Wednesday morning. “Most people, I think, will want it. There are going to be folks who complain about getting more vaccine. But I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t be complaining.”

Fox didn’t play the tape on those remarks, but they did show a clip from a Manatee County Commission meeting from Tuesday, featuring Commissioner Misty Servia. In the clip, the Republican criticized the state for prioritizing the “whitest demographic, the richest demographic” in the county.

“It’s racist to follow the science and vaccinate the most vulnerable population?” Ingraham asked. “I don’t understand this. Now we’re checking boxes of ethnicity and color? I thought it was about the science, saving lives.”

As of Wednesday morning, 31,840 people 65 years old and older have received a vaccine in the county. The pod in Manatee County will provide vaccines to 3,000 seniors.

“That was over and above what that county had been getting,” DeSantis said. “We saw that we needed to get more seniors in that particular county, so we worked with some of the local neighborhoods and said, where are a lot of seniors, where can we go in and knock out several thousand very quickly to get those numbers up.”

The Governor also repeated a similar refrain, that locking down the economy doesn’t work. All schools open, businesses free to be open, workers guaranteed right to work and tax revenue higher than expected, DeSantis said. Meanwhile, the state is below the national average in COVID-19 deaths per capita despite having the second oldest population in the United States.

“These lockdowns on their own just don’t work,” DeSantis said. “Even if you didn’t care about economy, even if you didn’t care about education, they don’t work to stop the spread, and I think the results in Florida and elsewhere show that.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Wanda

    February 18, 2021 at 1:46 am

    Looks like in 2022 we need to vote him out he is trying to act like trump ,he needs to go !!,

  • Sonja Fitch

    February 18, 2021 at 4:29 am

    Duffus Desantis confirms “he is a liar”! If the only press Duffus Desantis talks to is Fox then Duffus Desantis lies. Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the elections in 2022.

  • Gail

    February 18, 2021 at 7:11 am

    Yeah let’s vote out DeSantis and make Florida just like New York or California. That works really well.

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    February 18, 2021 at 7:17 am

    DeSantis to Manatee County: Drop Dead

  • tjb

    February 18, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Thank God that I am a privileged wealthy white person Governor DeSantis. As you know, we are the chosen people … screw the disenfranchised. Amen. Amen. Amen!

    Governor Desantis. we thank you for the vaccine, now can you help to reduce our taxes and make sure no disenfranchised folks move into our neighborhood. Praise the Lord and Desantis.

  • PeterH

    February 18, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Why is DeSantis making ANY decisions on the implementation of vaccine role out? Shouldn’t these recommendations be made by the Florida Health department? Are there any other vaccination sites in the State of Florida restricted to “only recipients who live within this zip code?”

  • Steve Emerson

    February 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    DeSantis is doing exactly what is right. Leftist hate that these two zip codes have the highest concentration of old people in the county. Perhaps they want to let the old people die and vaccinate by racial quota? Our Governor is great.

  • Diane H

    February 18, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    There are about 20 zip codes in Manatee County. Only people in two of those zip codes are eligible to get those vaccines. Why does he think there are no seniors in the other 18 zip codes? He needs to be voted out of office in 2022!

  • Joey

    February 18, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    You prepare florida numbers. Every body knows that. Covid numbers are out the roof in FL. This Governor is a liar. Federal Gov should distribute vaccines in FL not this “governor”.


    February 18, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    The biggest butthead blunder of all time, and I should be grateful?

Comments are closed.


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