The mayor of Palm Beach, Democrat Dave Kerner, has come out in support of Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after a deceptively edited ’60 minutes’ report on CBS insinuated that the governor had extended a vaccine partnership with the grocery store Publix in a ‘pay to play’ deal. The store had apparently offered $100,000 to DeSantis’ 2022 reelection campaign. As such, the fact that DeSantis allowed Publix to partner in the vaccine distribution program was narrated as blatant favoritism.
In the ’60 Minutes’ segment, DeSantis’ responses to questions raised on the matter by correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi were edited to make it look as if the governor was dodging and bulldozing them, when in reality, his answers were complete and straightforward. When conservatives began sharing the original unedited video uploaded on YouTube, the edited video became ‘unavailable.’ Fox News eventually released a report summarizing the full answers given by DeSantis.
Following the broadcast of the ’60 Minutes’ segment, Kerner issued a statement, accusing the reporting of being “intentionally false” and “just based on bad information.” He stated that ’60 Minutes’ should be “ashamed” of their reporting that was solely done for “dividing us for cheap views and clicks.”
He revealed that the request for Publix partnership in the vaccination drive was made by the county and not by the governor. Kerner thanked DeSantis for his efforts, saying that it led to more than 275,000 seniors in his county, which accounts for 75 percent of the total senior population, getting vaccinated.
“I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and 60 Minutes declined. They know that the Governor came to Palm Beach County and met with me and the County Administrator and we asked to expand the state’s partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County. We also discussed our own local plans to expand mass vaccinations centers throughout the county, which the Governor has been incredibly supportive [of]. We asked and he delivered. They had that information, and they left it out because it kneecaps their narrative,” Kerner said in a statement.
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Regarding special access privileges that Publix allegedly received, the company called CBS reporting offensive and “absolutely false.” A spokesperson for the company said that their pharmacy associates had already administered over 1.5 million doses. In an interview with Tucker Carlson at Fox News, DeSantis dismissed the ’60 Minutes’ reporting as a “smear” done with “malicious intent.”
Jesse Kelly, a host at a conservative TV network, warned in a tweet that “The System” is trying to destroy DeSantis, as he scares them. She said that the ’60 Minutes’ segment was only a “soft warm up” to what is coming.
Meanwhile, DeSantis has completely rejected the idea of implementing vaccine passports in Florida. These passports would restrict admissions to places like theme parks, movie theaters, airplanes, etc. to those who have been vaccinated, thus being discriminatory against individuals who are unable to, or do not wish to be vaccinated. At a press conference, the governor called such a move “completely unacceptable.” He issued an executive order on April 2, banning the practice in his state.
“Businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business… All businesses must comply with this order to be eligible for grants or contracts funded through state revenue… The requirements in this order do not otherwise restrict businesses from instituting COVID-19 screening protocols in accordance with state and federal law to protect public health,” according to the executive order.