Members of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ staff may have allowed certain VIPs to jump the vaccine line in order to maximize a public appearance by the governor, according to texts obtained by the Bradenton Herald. When it seemed like DeSantis might drop by the Feb. 17 COVID vaccination event in Manatee County for a TV appearance, local officials were excited. “Should try to see if that would help him get exposure here,” a local GOP donor wrote to the county commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who agreed the appearance could be good for DeSantis’ 2022 campaign.
Then, according to the texts, members of DeSantis’ advance team asked Baugh to compile a list of people to be vaccinated during DeSantis’ visit, rather than relying on the county’s random vaccine standby pool. Baugh, naturally, included herself and the GOP donor on the list, as well as residents of two wealthy zip codes in her district. She is now under investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. DeSantis has denied that his team gave unfair priority to anyone.