Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back on CNN correspondent Rosa Flores during a press conference Monday after she appeared to suggest that his state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout had “gone wrong.”
“Governor, what has gone wrong with the rollout of the vaccine, that we’ve seen phone lines jammed, websites crash…” Flores began during a press conference, as the GOP governor cut her off.
“It’s a lot of demand. I mean, I think at the end of the day…” he began, before Flores interjected.
“Excuse me, if I can finish my question,” she carped.
“Excuse me. Excuse me. You just said what’s gone wrong. So, I’m answering the question,” DeSantis fired back as Flores attempted to cut him off again.
As Flores continued to try to talk over DeSantis, he implored, “So, are you gonna give a speech or are you gonna ask a question?”
After more crosstalk, DeSantis told the CNN correspondent that it appeared as though she was trying to ask multiple questions though other reporters in attendance were only permitted to ask one.
“I did not. My full question is: What went wrong with the rollout of the vaccine when we’ve seen phone lines jammed, websites crash—“ said Flores.
“So, you’re repeating your question,” DeSantis intoned.
“To complete it for you, Governor. We’ve seen websites crash and also senior citizens waiting overnight for the vaccine,” she said.
At that point, the governor seemed as though he wanted to discuss the issues while asking Flores if she had bothered to investigate, as a journalist, why residents in some counties were experiencing long lines and wait times to get a vaccine.
“Why was…like in Lee [County]…why did that happen? Did you investigate why?” DeSantis asked.
“That’s my question to you, governor. You’re the governor of the state. I’m not the governor of the state,” she shot back.
“Okay, but you didn’t investigate why? Like in Lee, why was there a big line? Did you investigate why?” DeSantis pressed.
If Flores did investigate, she did not make it apparent. “Could you tell us why?” she responded.
“Because we distributed the vaccine to hospitals and the hospitals said first-come-first-serve and if you show up, we’ll do it. So, they didn’t use a registration system, there wasn’t anything that was done and there’s a lot of demand for it. So, people are going to want to go ahead and get it,” DeSantis explained.
At that, Flores suggested that DeSantis did not have a plan “to make sure senior citizens didn’t wait outside overnight.”
A clearly agitated DeSantis then explained that “the state is not dictating to hospitals” how they must distribute vaccines because state officials don’t have the expertise at the local level to do so.
“These guys are much more competent to deliver healthcare services than a state government could ever be,” said DeSantis. “So, we’re empowering the hospitals. Eighty-percent of the initial doses over the first three weeks were to hospitals. And you’ve seen places like Jackson really take the bull by the horns.”
The governor added that it would be “a disaster” for the state to tell hospitals and county health officials how to distribute the vaccines, adding that some have already made “course corrections” to ensure faster delivery.
DeSantis then said, “If you’re 74 years old in the state of Florida, we’ve made a decision that we want you to get vaccinated.”
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