This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
In case you needed one more example of why Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not fit to run a state, you can add “berates journalists” to the list of why he is a nightmare. While giving a press conference on Monday, DeSantis got into a heated exchange with CNN reporter Rosa Flores when she pressed him to answer her question about why the state’s coronavirus vaccine rollout left numerous assisted living facilities waiting for vaccines after the governor said he would prioritize elderly people.
In a video of the exchange aired on CNN, Flores barely asked the first part of her question before DeSantis began speaking over her. “There’s a lot of demand,” he began. Flores pivoted, responding, “If I could just finish my question.” However, DeSantis had already had enough. “Excuse me. Excuse me,” he said motioning his hand to suggest she stop speaking. “You just said what has gone wrong so I’m answering the question,” he continued. Flores then again politely asked to finish her question, when DeSantis interrupted a second time, saying, “So are you going to give a speech or are you going to ask a question?”
He proceeded to berate Flores, claiming that she was trying to ask multiple questions when other reporters got the chance to each ask one, asking why she thinks she deserves to get more time than everyone else. “With all due respect, Governor, I’m just asking if I could finish my question,” Flores responds calmly. When Flores was finally able to ask her question in-full, she said: “What went wrong with the rollout of the vaccine when we’ve seen phone lines jammed, websites crashing…and also senior citizens waiting overnight for the vaccine?”
And this is when DeSantis took it upon himself to play a crafty game of “I know you are but what am I.” When he asked for specifics about where those instances took place, Flores listed the exact counties. When he asked why it was happening, she said, “That’s my question to you, Governor. You’re the governor of the state. I’m not.”
well done reporter @RosaFlores. DeSantis continues to show why he’s the worst governor in the country right now. frequently interrupts and insults the reporter.pic.twitter.com/VYgkvaLbwK
— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) January 5, 2021
Ultimately, DeSantis found himself between a rock and a hard place and was unable to back out, so instead took the low road and berated a woman journalist for not doing his job. Many on Twitter were quick to criticize DeSantis’ disrespectful behavior during the press briefing, describing his actions as “embarrassing,” “arrogant,” and “dismissive.” Others likened his outburst to that of a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. A few even suggested that the Governor owed Flores an apology.
Here’s @GovRonDeSantis proving he can be as arrogant and dismissive as trump, while dodging both the question and the responsibility. Meanwhile wealthy and non-essential workers are being vaccinated. https://t.co/Z6XddZbUXk
— Marcia (@mdub2829) January 5, 2021
This is embarrassing behavior by a public official. Well done @RosaFlores https://t.co/OgKVEWU387
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 5, 2021
Watch @GovRonDeSantis have a tantrum like a toddler. Dude is an embarrassment. pic.twitter.com/SC3juxfm6F
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 5, 2021
But it’s no surprise that DeSantis isn’t even able to answer a simple question about first-round vaccine rollouts in his state. As far as COVID-19 management is concerned, DeSantis’ actions have ranged from tone-deaf to unmitigated disaster. Since the early days of the pandemic, he fell in step with President Donald Trump and downplayed the severity of the situation. He’s turned a blind eye to the need for mask mandates, social distancing, and contact tracing as Floridians were allowed to stand shoulder to shoulder in bars, restaurants, and stores.
Even as cases surged, DeSantis stayed the course of denial. When Florida neared a total death toll of 20,000 earlier this month, DeSantis invited 160 state lawmakers to a holiday party at his Tallahassee mansion. Masks not required but plus ones encouraged. He ignored scientists, withheld critical information about hospitalizations, and cherry-picked numbers that suited his deadly lackluster approach. Perhaps an unmitigated disaster is too kind a descriptor.
Refinery29 reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment but they had not responded in time for publication.
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