Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., declined to defend his gubernatorial successor, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Fox News Radio’s “Brian Kilmeade Show”, amid a firestorm over the veracity of a “60 Minutes” segment painting the governor as closing a vaccination deal with Publix Supermarkets thanks in part to a $100,000 political donation.
Several Florida Democrats, including Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, ripped CBS News over the package, which aired Sunday evening and was noticeably absent from the network’s news programming following the outcry.
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James, a Democrat who runs the county’s largest city, however took the opposite tact, alleging “there were no rules” in DeSantis’ vaccine rollout and that “those who had the fiscal resources were going to use them in whatever way they could to get this vaccine.”
DeSantis claimed “60 Minutes” deceptively edited his remarks about Florida’s coronavirus vaccine program, which Kerner had said was effective in his South Florida locale which is home to a large senior citizen population and where Publix is a ubiquity.
Kilmeade asked Scott about the firestorm, remarking that the long-running CBS newsmagazine hasn’t covered potentially more egregious COVID-related controversies involving Govs. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California.
“From what you know, senator, as a former governor, was that a hit job?” Kilmeade asked Scott.
Scott responded by praising Publix, telling Kilmeade the Lakeland-based grocer and executives are “class acts.”
“I know everybody in Florida wants to get the vaccine as quickly as they can … they’re great company. I dont know how you could ever attack them.”
Kilmeade then closed out the interview, adding that he sees the episode as a mainstream media attempt to “take down” DeSantis.
Notably, DeSantis recently criticized Scott in March, after the fiscally-conservative senator called on governors to refuse the “wasteful” federal taxpayer dollars being sent around to states as part of President Biden’s massive COVID spending law.
“[Scott’s idea] doesn’t make any sense,” DeSantis said In March.
The governor argued that if Tallahassee were to refuse or send back the state’s cut of the $1.9 trillion bill, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would likely just shift the payment to a less-solvent Democratic-run state like New Jersey or Illinois.
“I don’t think that would make sense for Floridians to be giving even more money to the blue states that already getting such a big windfall,” he said at the time.
The two Sunshine State Republicans are seen as potential 2024 presidential primary contenders.