Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Spars with CNN Reporter: 'You Gonna Give a Speech or You’re Gonna Ask a Question?'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) sparred with CNN reporter Rosa Flores on Monday over the vaccine rollout in the Sunshine State, ultimately asking Flores if she was “gonna give a speech” or “ask a question.”
“It was a very simple question why, what has gone wrong, but Governor DeSantis wouldn’t even let me finish asking my question. Take a listen,” Flores said on CNN before the network played a clip of the heated exchange:
It’s good for reporters to be reminded that they’re not immune from being called out to their faces. Sheeeesh.
— Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) January 5, 2021
Flores asked the Republican governor “what has gone wrong with the rollout of the vaccine that we’ve seen phone lines jammed” and “websites crashing,” prompting him to begin to answer the question.
“There’s a lot of demand. I mean I think at the end of the day we,” he began as she interrupted, asking to finish her question.
“You just said what has gone wrong so I’m answering the question,” DeSantis said as she contended she did not finish the question.
“So you’re going to give a speech or you’re going to ask a question?” he asked.
“With all due respect governor I’m trying to,” she said.
“You asked a question,” DeSantis responded. “I’m going to answer it.”
The exchange continued:
DeSantis: No. You’re giving a speech. You asked a question.
Flores: I’m trying to ask you the —
DeSantis: You’re going to ask how many questions? You get three? They only got one question. Why do you get three?
Flores: With all due respect, governor, I’m just asking if I could finish my question.
DeSantis: You didn’t — you finished the question.
Flores: I did not. My full question is what went wrong with the rollout of the vaccine when we’ve seen phone lines jammed, websites crashing —
DeSantis: So you’re repeating your question.
Flores: To complete it for you, governor, we’ve seen websites crash and also senior citizens waiting over night for the vaccine.
DeSantis: Where was that at?
Flores: We’ve seen it in Duval, Broward, Orange, and Lee County.
DeSantis: And why was, like in Lee, why did that happen? Did you investigate why?
Flores: That’s my question to you governor. You’re the governor of the state. I’m not the governor of the state.
DeSantis: Okay, but you didn’t investigate why how, like in Lee County, why was there a big line? Did you investigate why?
Flores: Could you tell us why?
DeSantis: Because we distributed [the] vaccine to hospitals and the hospitals said first come, first serve. 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.
Flores: So are you saying there was no plan from the state to make sure that senior citizens didn’t wait outside overnight?
DeSantis: So the state is not dictating the hospitals. … That would be a total disaster. These guys are much more competent to be able to deliver healthcare services than a state government could ever be.
This is not the first time CNN has attempted to criticize Florida’s rollout of the coronavirus vaccines. Last week, the network reported that the state, under DeSantis’s leadership, was “bucking” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations by prioritizing seniors in its distribution of the vaccinations rather than giving focus to frontline workers.
“There was a recommendation from the CDC that you [vaccinate] so-called essential workers. What’s essential?” the governor asked last week, noting that there are many people who “work really hard that the CDC doesn’t consider essential, but their family considers them essential.” That recommendation, he continued, could “be putting young people ahead of our elderly population.”
“If you have somebody that works for a grocery store or food services that may be 22, they would have priority over someone who is 73,” DeSantis said, also telling reporters that he is “not the priority” in receiving the vaccine despite his status as an elected official:
Governor Ron DeSantis asked if he has had the vaccine.
“Granted I’m an elected official but whoop dee doo”
focusing the vaccines for seniors. pic.twitter.com/Mw7fgt0pWx
— Showcase of Wishes (@ShowcaseWishes) December 30, 2020
That same CNN report highlighted the long lines — specifically “bumper to bumper traffic jam twists around the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida” — following the rollout of the vaccine, but CNN’s Ryan Young added that they witnessed “remarkable change” in operations from the initial start.
1,137,000 vaccines have been distributed in the Sunshine State, with 264,512 getting vaccinated as of the CDC’s January 4th update.