NBC News reporter Corky Siemaszko recently authored a report alleging that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis let political favoritism determine who would receive the COVID-19 vaccine first.
His claims quickly came under fire by Twitter users and pundits alike as the story circulated widely on social media.
“Ignored federal guidelines”
In his article, Siemaszko wrote that the governor “ignored federal guidelines and prioritized getting senior citizens” inoculated because he recognized “the political gold in those precious doses.”
The report went on to assert that survivors of the Holocaust and the Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion were among the first to receive shots, noting that DeSantis was conspicuous in his celebration of that fact.
Furthermore, the reporter claimed that DeSantis is facing accusations that he used the vaccine “to reward powerful political supporters and developers by setting up pop-up vaccination sites in planned communities they developed and where GOP voters predominate.”
Siemaszko went on to contend that a “prominent” DeSantis donor had ties to one of those vaccination sites. Fox News reported that NBC News has since had to retract that claim.
Also at issue was the governor’s decision to be present when a 94-year-old Korean War veteran received a televised injection.
“Far and away the most vulnerable”
The article did not go over well with various critics, however, including GOP strategist Matt Whitlock, who tweeted that it amounted to “an absurd botched hit piece,” pointing out that elderly people are most at risk for dying of COVID-19.
Another Twitter user issued a similar denouncement, writing: “You’re literally criticizing him for vaccinating seniors first, who are far and away the most vulnerable, as opposed to the Cuomo model of killing them and covering it up.”
That tweet included a reference to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is facing mounting backlash over reports that his administration underreported the true death toll of nursing home residents in his state who died after contracting the virus.
The Cuomo scandal dates back to his decision last year to force nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities to readmit convalescing residents after they had been treated for COVID-19.
In August, the Department of Justice announced that it would be requesting nursing home data from New York and several other Democratic-led states with similar policies.