Although Florida has experienced a significantly lower COVID-19 death rate than many states with even more restrictive mitigation policies, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has faced allegations that he falsified data related to the spread of infection in nursing homes.
For his part, DeSantis has touted his decision not to send infected patients back into such facilities — and the National Review’s Charles Cooke recent reports are aimed at debunking the claims against him.
“Easily rebuttable looking at public information”
Allegations of falsified data by the DeSantis administration stemmed from the claims of former state health official Rebekah Jones and have been widely embraced by left-leaning pundits throughout the mainstream media.
During a recent MSNBC appearance, Cooke slammed her unsubstantiated rhetoric as well as those who dutifully parroted the claims.
“It’s been shared by Nikki Fried, who’s running for governor,” he said. “By Joy Reid and Rachel Maddow, by Chris Cuomo on CNN.”
Jones has also used the issue as a successful fundraising ploy, Cooke said, adding: “And it’s astonishing to me that nobody has really looked into this, because while this has poisoned millions of minds, it’s easily rebuttable looking at public information.”
Cooke laid out his position in an article published last week, explaining that there is scant reason to believe Jones’ assertions.
“There is simply no story here”
In that piece, he noted that the Florida official “claims that she was fired because she had refused to take part in a massive cover-up,” but a look at her personnel file indicates otherwise.
Records reveal details of a troubling criminal history, including evidence that Jones “had completed a pre-trial intervention program in Louisiana in 2018, thereby securing a ‘no conviction’ record for ‘battery of a police officer.'”
Furthermore, Jones reportedly “entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the State of Florida in 2017 after being charged with ‘criminal mischief,'” Cooke added.
The writer characterized her as “a replacement-level government employee who repeated breaks the rules, who is repeatedly mollycoddled while doing so, and who is fired only when she eventually renders herself unworthy of the department’s considerable grace.”
Finally, Cooke asserted that it was Jones herself who was caught manipulating COVID-19 data in an effort to inflate the death numbers, concluding: “There is an extremely good reason that nobody in the Florida Department of Health has sided with Jones. It’s the same reason that there has been no devastating New York Times expose about Florida’s ‘real’ numbers. The reason? There is simply no story here.”