It was a passing mention, without any other facts or context to back it up. Just that Publix was working with the state to administer vaccines and that the company’s PAC had made this donation to the governor.
The insinuation here, however, was pretty clear. Publix got this state contract because of the donation. Pay to play. Favoritism. All that good stuff.
The problem is that, in the wake of the “60 Minutes” report, multiple Democratic elected officials have come out to debunk the tie between the donation and Publix distributing the vaccine.
Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, a Democrat, said that the news program had run “intentionally false” information because, he insisted, the producers knew that the county, not the governor, had been the one to request the Publix partnership.
The report — and the backlash — amount to a massive gift to DeSantis as he looks to his reelection race next year and, he hopes, a 2024 run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump-aligned commentators rushed to DeSantis’ defense, casting this episode as evidence of just how scared the media is of the Florida governor’s 2024 prospects.
DeSantis couldn’t have written this script any better. He gets oodles more national attention and love from Trump conservatives, all the while being able to bash away at the media. Win, win, win.
The Point: Becoming a major contender for a presidential nomination requires skill, yes. But it also requires being in the right place at the right time — not to mention some lucky breaks. And this is a major one for DeSantis.