TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis fired back at the Associated Press on Monday in response to a letter sent by the AP’s incoming CEO last week over backlash to an article about his promoting of monoclonal antibody treatments used to help COVID-19 patients.
The Associated Press article published last week reported that the CEO of a hedge fund with shares of the monoclonal antibody drug Regeneron has donated to a political committee that supports Gov. DeSantis.
The article received backlash from social media users, including the governor’s press secretary Christina Pushaw. According to the AP, Pushaw retweeted the article with the message “drag them.” The tweet was later deleted.
But in a letter sent to DeSantis on Friday, incoming AP CEO Daisy Veerasingham called on the governor to end what she called “harassing behavior” by Pushaw. Veerasingham said that the reporter who wrote the story received threats and other online abuse.
DeSantis responded to the AP Monday with a scathing letter of his own, calling the story a “baseless conspiracy theory” that would “lead some to decline effective treatment for COVID infections.”
“I assumed your letter was to notify me that you were issuing a retraction of the partisan smear piece you published last week,” DeSantis said in his letter. “Instead, you had the temerity to complain about the deserved blowback that your botched and discredited attempt to concoct a political narrative has received.”
In his letter, DeSantis defended his staff members and slammed the AP for publishing what he called clickbait headlines.
“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?”