Twitter gave Christina Pushaw, Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ bellicose press secretary, a 12-hour time-out Friday.
The suspension came after Pushaw encouraged her 21,800 followers to harass Associated Press reporter Brendan Farrington, who published a story Tuesday about a top DeSantis donor’s link to a hedge fund that invested in Regeneron, a drug used to treat COVID-19.
DeSantis, who has urged Florida residents to get vaccinated, has been been promoting Regeneron across the state as an alternative/supplement to vaccinations ahead of the state opening sites to administer the drug.
While the headline of Farrington’s story drew attention to the donor’s investment in Regeneron, the story details how the hedge fund invested more in vaccine manufacturers but notes that “the relationship (with Regeneron) has generated a buzz on social media, as Democrats question the relationship.”
Pushaw responded to the story with a flood of tweets aimed at Farrington, his editor and the AP over the next few days. In a since-deleted tweet, she told her followers: Drag them.”
Farrington said he received death threats. As of Friday night, he’d set his account to private.
Earlier Friday, the AP published an article calling on DeSantis to end Pushaw’s “harassing behavior.” The article quoted Pushaw as saying she wasn’t aware “drag them” was meant to be taken as a threat.
Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy shared a screenshot Pushaw apparently shared with him at around 6:45 p.m. showing Twitter informing her she’d violated its rules. While she could still browse Twitter, the message said, she would not be able to tweet, retweet, post fleets, follow other accounts or like posts for 12 hours.
He pointed out the suspension came “after @AP wrote a letter complaining about her,” adding: “Meanwhile, the Taliban livetweeted its conquest of Kabul.”
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) August 20, 2021
Pushaw’s Twitter page remains open. Her timeline includes retweets expressing views similar to Dunleavy’s, including several comparing the response to her and her followers’ attacks on Farrington with events in Afghanistan.
Her most recent tweet, pinned atop her page, shares an article by nonprofit fact-checking website PolitiFact, which rated the AP story “mostly false.”
A closer inspection of the PolitiFact article shows the “mostly false” rating was given not to the AP story but to an Instagram post. Politifact quoted the Instagram post as saying: “‘The second-largest investor in Regeneron’ is a firm whose CEO is Ron DeSantis’ ‘number one political donor.'”
That assertion appears nowhere in Farrington’s AP story.