Last week, the Associated Press published an article titled “DeSantis top donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes.” The article drew criticism from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) who argued that the article “discouraged readers from seeking life-saving treatment,” calling the article “a debunked political attack.” In response, the Florida Governor has directed a letter to Daisy Veerasingham, the president and CEO of the Associated Press, calling the article “a false narrative that will lead some to decline effective treatment for COVID infections.”
Referencing the title of the article, Governor DeSantis called it a way “to smear me by insinuating that Florida’s push to expand awareness of and access to monoclonal antibody treatments was done to boost Regeneron’s profit, rather than to simply help Floridians in need.” Calling the allegations false, DeSantis explained that “as the federal government long ago bought the entire stock of Regeneron’s COVID monoclonal treatment, it is not even a plausible concept.”
DeSantis argued that the Associated Press provided “zero evidence that Florida’s efforts are being undertaken for any reason other than to help Floridians recover from COVID,” adding that “this will have real consequences for people’s health, especially given that the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment has a proven track record and has been touted by both the Trump and Biden administrations.”
He disregarded the article as “a baseless conspiracy theory,” going on to say that “you cannot recklessly smear your political opponents and then expect to be immune from criticism.”
DeSantis detailed that his staff had provided the Associated Press “with the factual information necessary to dispel the AP’s preferred narrative,” and the Governor said that “the AP’s attempt to create a political narrative has backfired.”
In turn, the Governor lamented that they “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.”
The Associated Press has not yet responded to the letter.