‘Was it worth it?’: Gov. DeSantis excoriates AP for Regeneron-donor story
Ron DeSantis in Ormond Beach.

Ron DeSantis
Twitter reprimanded his press secretary for violating its policies, but DeSantis stands by her comments.

In a strongly worded letter to The Associated Press, Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized the news organization for writing and defending its “political smear” against him.

DeSantis wrote the letter after the news wire reported his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, to Twitter for “abusive behavior” it says led to threats against reporter Brendan Farrington. Twitter locked her account for 12 hours beginning Friday night.

The suspension came after Pushaw encouraged her 21,800 followers to harass Farrington, who published a story Tuesday about a top DeSantis donor’s link to a hedge fund that invested in Regeneron, which produces a drug used to treat COVID-19.

“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,” DeSantis said. “Was it worth it?”

DeSantis, who has urged Florida residents to get vaccinated, has been promoting Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment across the state as an alternative and/or 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 over the story.

Despite Twitter’s assessment that Pushaw’s tweets violated its policies, DeSantis stood by Pushaw and his comms shop at large. Moreover, he called the online response from his supporters “deserved blowback.”

“I stand by the work of my staff who went out of their way to provide the AP with the factual information necessary to dispel the AP’s preferred narrative,” DeSantis said. “That their response was effective in exposing the AP’s partisan agenda represented a valuable public service, as it reassured many that the Regeneron monoclonal treatment is effective.”

He called the story a “partisan smear” and the AP’s letter to Twitter an attempt to divert attention from the “false narrative.”

“This story is a baseless conspiracy theory,” DeSantis said. “While the public’s trust in corporate outlets like the AP is at historic lows, there is no doubt that some will decline to seek life-saving treatment as a result of the AP’s inflammatory headline.”

DeSantis signed a measure (SB 7072) against social media “deplatforming” this year. DeSantis named the bill a priority ahead of the 2021 Legislative Session after Twitter and other prominent social media companies banished then-President Donald Trump and other conservatives from their platforms following the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Tech associations that represent Twitter, Facebook and more sued the state, calling the bill a violation of those businesses’ rights to free speech by restricting their ability to police their platforms.

DeSantis has frequently criticized “corporate media” for backing Democrats and criticizing his approach to the pandemic. He continued that thread in Monday’s letter.

“This is what happens when you decide on the headline and narrative before you begin reporting,” DeSantis said. “The corporate media’s ‘clicks-first, facts-later’ approach to journalism is harming our country.”

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.


  • Sonja Fitch

    August 23, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Is this pr woman the new woman Duffus Desantis is “attached “. ? Just like the former guy in more ways than lying got to go for it! Do you Duffus Desantis ? Duffus is willingly slaughtering Floridians and our children! Duffus Desantis is a damn killer! Lock up Duffus Desantis!

    • jeffrey frost

      August 27, 2021 at 7:31 am

      Yikes, ignorance is contagious. You have no idea of the data or the science. But appear to only hate leaders you disagree with.

  • Alex

    August 23, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    DesAnus knows he’s losing on the same hill Trump died on, so he doubles down on attacking the Free Press to distract his ignorant followers from the truth in a virtual replay of Trump’s loss.

    What idiocy will he try next?


    I’m buying more popcorn.

    • Tom

      August 23, 2021 at 10:52 pm

      Alex You dumb Manchurian!
      Go dance with Schumer and Colbert.
      Rub Schumer’s bald Head.

    • Tom

      August 23, 2021 at 11:04 pm

      Alex is Socialist from Cuba.

    • Tom

      August 23, 2021 at 11:57 pm

      Alex is Socialist from Cuba.
      No hill to die on for Repubs Alex, figment of your delusional Covid brain. Price you pay for being a Manchurian.

  • Tom Palmer

    August 23, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    It’s not unreasonable to respond to what someone thinks is an unfair story. What was notable was the harshness of the response. Right now its good Republican politics not to mention vaccines and masks and other preventative measures any more than you have to and instead talk about other treatments for people who didn’t get the shots and got sick.

  • Dez Santis

    August 23, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    Following the Trump playbook. Attack any unflattering story as a “political smear” and spin the facts to create a false narrative. Did the story reporting hedge fund investment in vaccines cause people to avoid getting vaccinated? Of course not, that’s his racket.

  • Tom

    August 23, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Total B.S. from Alex, Sonja, Palmer and Manchurians. You have no shame, how’s it feel to be on the curb with Nikki Fraud. Another smear from a media source.

    Shocking, read Steve Contarno, Tampa Times. An objective story as it points out how the Dum clowns have very little difference on Covid. Talk is cheap as all of you curb types demonstrate everyday. Disgusting. The AP story is irresponsible, Remember 60 mints smear.

    Having said that, It is not advised to focus upon a media person and encourage push back. She Is wrong. No law was broken and people can contribute within the law. The contributor is a national supporter. He contributes to many. His company owns stock in Regeneron. That is not unlawful.

    What’s corrupt is Cuomo using his State staff to write a book on Covid deaths he forced upon seniors. Collecting $5 million. DeSantis saved seniors unlike zCuomo, Alex and Manchurians. The smear ridden attacks by AP and others is shameful.

    Alex, Sonja you two are the last people to cast stones. Your hate and vengeance is horrendous. Gov. Ron, America’s Governor is right to highlight the dishonest report.

    You fools who perpetuate this myth of dying on a hill are demented and delusional. Governor is in the lead sizably. Fake polls don’t work. If any of you Manchurians think that America’s Governor will not receive 95% of Repub vote you are in need of med attention. He will win, period! Alex, you are the liar loser.

    • Tom Palmer

      August 23, 2021 at 6:22 pm

      What the hell does Cuomo have to do with anything in Florida? It’s still like the Middle Ages when taking baths was heretical. Now vaccines are heretical.

      • Tom

        August 23, 2021 at 8:12 pm

        Cuomo is a pig and fondler.
        The hypocrisy from your side is overwhelming. The liberal media hold you non accountable. It took a disaster in Afghanistan to have the WH media awake. Pelosi who demands and fines members of Congress to wear masks just did a Napa valley funder for a 1000 contributors. Now masks. I’m sure AP is writing the smear now.

        Cuomo was POTUS’s first candidate for AG. You, Alex and the rest of the Manchurians have to own up.
        The ugly smears are relentless
        You can’t hold up on the issues.
        Dems don’t defend Americans abroad.
        Don’t defend in our major cities and Don’t defend our border.
        How you like it now,
        Alex you loser!
        DeSantis the best!!

        • NotTom

          August 26, 2021 at 10:29 am

          Good grief, the clowns are in full force today. DeathSantis is perpetuating the spread and the growth of the virus right in front of all of us and you still defend him. It’s not enough proof that he was denying that the virus existed in the first place, now that people are dying in doves he had to change his story. It’s a typical politician who only TELLS you what to think and you eat it up. The ‘liberals’ hld their representatives accountable, that’s why Cuomo was forced to resign, you just believe whatever daddy says and it’s pathetic, be your own man.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 23, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    Prevention is the best way! Once you got it you may or may not get better! Just typical Duffus Desantis political blaming bs. Duffus Desantis is a damn drug dealer.

    • Tom

      August 23, 2021 at 5:59 pm

      There you go, perfect example Sonya.
      So pathetic. Where’s Tjb, Hoffmann and more Manchurians.

    • Impeach Biden

      August 23, 2021 at 6:11 pm

      The drug dealer is your friend Nikki Fried. The clock is ticking on Nikki’s new found wealth via the “devils lettuce”. Numbers should be out shortly.

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 24, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Why would anyone take regenerate, made with discarded human embryos and mice juice concentrate.

  • Skye

    August 24, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..JHG she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 15042 only working on the laptop 4 hours a day..

    check this ……>>> http://amazingjobs.tk/

  • Lawrence

    August 24, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    I’m not a DeSantis fan, so I got pretty worked up. What a let-down! It really oozed “clickbait”. The story does speak to how low the media is going to try to create scandal, and I thought it was appropriate for DeSantis to call them out. I’m not sure who I blame more….the AP team, or me, for being dumb enough to click.

    • Tom

      August 24, 2021 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks for your honesty Lawrence.
      Yes, it’s especially offensive as he is trying to make everything available.
      Unfortunately, the haters like Alex, Peter H, Joe ocean, Tjb, Hoffmann, whiskey slut, Sonja and others are deranged. Glad to see you are objective. Alex is a Socialist Manchurian. Planted from within.
      DeSantis will win and Florida advances.

      • Nick

        September 2, 2021 at 9:39 pm

        Tom I got bad news to tell you, being the DeSantis campaign manager, but this ship is gonna go down faster than the new titanic getting gang banged by 3 icebergs

  • Kari Jean

    August 31, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Covid vaccine approx $20, Regeneron 2 treatments between $1000 – $2000. All paid by US government (working class taxes). DeSantis setting up Regeneron sites. Whose pockets are getting lined?

Comments are closed.


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