Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office is pushing back hard on media allegations that the Republican head of state is going all-out to recruit unvaccinated police officers from other states, thus attempting to “bring deadly COVID into” the Sunshine State.
DeSantis’ office on Monday, in an interview with The Daily Wire, rejected claims by MSNBC host Joy Reid, who make the allegations during her segment, “The Absolute Worst.”
“Tonight’s ‘Absolute Worst’ is now actually paying to bring deadly COVID into his state. ‘Come to me, COVID,’” said Reid. She then voiced a parody recruitment commercial that offered law enforcement officers from the other 49 states the chance to kill Florida’s senior citizen population:
Are you big on ordering people to comply, but you hate complying with health mandates yourself? Do you dream of arresting people’s ability to breathe while you arrest them? Well, pack up your potentially infectious self, your badge, and your gun, and come on down to Florida. Take this taxpayer bonus money and enjoy constant interactions with vulnerable senior citizens you can breathe on. Every breakthrough case and ICU admission is the virus of freedom spreading. And don’t forget your sunscreen.
Reid charged that DeSantis was specifically pitching unvaccinated police officers but then lied about that.
“Of course, today, because DeSantis has been nothing if not consistent, he denied recruiting unvaccinated police, despite literally saying this on Fox News last night,” Reid said, going on to play a video clip of DeSantis saying: “In Florida, our policy is very clear: We’re going to have a special session, and we’re going to say, ‘Nobody should lose their job, based off these injections.’”
At no point did DeSantis say he was directing his offer to unvaccinated police officers.
According to DeSantis’ office, Reid misrepresented the facts surrounding the governor’s offer to bring experienced law enforcement officers to Florida, and that it had nothing at all to do with vaccination status.
“The facts speak for themselves: Governor DeSantis announced this initiative back in August at the Fraternal Order of Police conference, as part of a package of proposals to recruit law enforcement officers from out of state. Vaccine mandates weren’t part of the conversation back then, and vaccination status wasn’t mentioned at all in the governor’s announcement,” DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, told The Daily Wire.
In an earlier press release, DeSantis promised to “provide a one-time $5,000 payment to law enforcement officers who are new to the profession in Florida.”
“These bonuses will be eligible to individuals with no prior employment in this state as a sworn law enforcement officer, corrections officer or other institutional security officer. Additionally, the funds are to be repaid to the state if the officer leaves their role prior to 1-year of continuous service,” he said.
Last month, DeSantis said officers should come to Florida because “we’ll treat you better.”
In Florida, not only are we going to want to protect the law enforcement, and all the jobs, we’re actually actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement because we do have needs in our police and our sheriffs’ departments,” the governor said.
“So, in the next legislative session, I’m going to hopefully sign legislation that gives a $5,000 bonus to any out-of-state law enforcement that relocates in Florida. So, NYPD, Minneapolis, Seattle — if you’re not being treated well, we’ll treat you better here. You can fill important needs for us, and we’ll compensate you as a result,” he added.
The state legislature has not yet passed the bonus package, however.
“When the bonus comes into effect, all law enforcement officers newly hired in Florida will be eligible, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated,” Pushaw told The Daily Wire. “State and local law enforcement agencies in Florida do not ask for the vaccination status of their employees or recruits, because this is a personal medical decision.”
The outlet added:
When asked about allegations that his pitch targeted police around the country who refuse to comply with local vaccine mandates, which includes hundreds of officers nationwide, DeSantis said the headline came “from a corporate outlet, which we all know: corporate media lies.”
“Assume what they tell you is false and then figure out why they’re telling you a false narrative,” DeSantis advised his listeners — a line that CNN’s Brian Stelter pounced on, to his regret. “The reason we’re doing it is because people are being treated poorly in Seattle and Minnesota and New York NYPD. They don’t have the support. They’ve had their funding cut” by their elected leaders eager to defund the police. In “some places they don’t even enforce the law, like in San Francisco, they don’t prosecute people shoplifting. So, you have rampant crime.”