A Florida Democrat ripped “60 Minutes” on Thursday for pushing the narrative that Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., partnered with Publix on vaccine distributions as a so-callled “pay-for-play” scheme, calling it “absolute malarkey.”
Florida Division of Emergency Management head Jared Moskowitz tweeted at CBS’s newsmagazine that Publix, a popular southern grocery store chain, was recommended by his agency and the Florida Department of Health, not the governor’s office.
“I said this before and I’ll say it again,” he tweeted. “Publix was recommended by [Florida Division of Emergency Management] and [Florida Department of Health] as the other pharmacies were not ready to start. Period! Full Stop! No one from the Governors office suggested Publix. It’s just absolute malarkey.”
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Moskowitz also resurfaced a tweet he sent last month that said, “This idea why @Publix was picked has been utter nonsense. We reached out to all pharmacies and they were the only one who at the time could execute on the mission. The federal government delayed the federal pharmacy program and we yet again stepped up first to serve more seniors.”
The “60 Minutes” segment sought to make a connection between a $100,000 donation to DeSantis’s political action committee from Publix and the subsequent decision to have the chain help with vaccine distribution.
Publix has more than 800 locations in Florida.
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In a statement to Fox News, the store disputed the “60 Minutes” piece as “false and offensive.”
“The irresponsible suggestion that there was a connection between campaign contributions made to Governor DeSantis and our willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts is absolutely false and offensive. We are proud of our pharmacy associates for administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine to date and for joining other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to do our part to help our communities emerge from the pandemic,” a Publix spokesperson told Fox News.
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“60 Minutes” has come under fire from critics for editing out DeSantis’ response to questions from reporter Sharyn Alfonsi, as well as painting his decision to prioritize vaccines for senior citizens as motivated by politics and not the fact that their demographic was most at risk of dying of the virus.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.