Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to a Washington Post hit piece on his well-recognized press secretary, Christina Pushaw, by telling the paper’s reporters that neither he, his press secretary, nor his staff give a hoot anymore about what they think.
“I think what we need to understand is that these legacy D.C. and New York outlets – we don’t care what you think anymore,” he said at a press conference this Wednesday afternoon in West Palm Beach, as reported by Fox News.
“We know you peddle narratives. We know you lie. We know you don’t care about the facts. And so you can try to smear me or anyone in my administration all you want to. All that’s going to do is embolden us to continue moving forward for the people in Florida.”
Published earlier that morning, the Post piece accused Pushaw of having “belatedly” registered as an agent of a Georgian politician.
The piece quickly went viral among members of the far-left eager to smear Pushaw as some sort of “literal foreign agent” working against America’s interests.
Absolutely astounding the raw percentage of America First types who are literal foreign agents.https://t.co/TxutniN4M0
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 8, 2022
I’m not a Floridian,hearing that pushaw was,and is now registered as a foreign agent and continues to be employed by desantis me that this country better wake up and see what’s now taking place all over! It’s frightening!
— James lief/bigE (@Jameser51831089) June 8, 2022
Republicans sure seem to love hiring people who “secretly” represent foreign interests.
— Songstress TEBF (@SongstressTEBF) June 8, 2022
They are all working against the country.
— KonaBean (@KonaBean5) June 8, 2022
But the narrative that predictably spread on social media thanks to the Post’s reporting was completely false.
“Ms. Pushaw did volunteer work helping to advocate for former Georgian President Miikheil Saakashvili, a close ally of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the need for free elections and democratic institutions in Georgia where she was living at the time,” her attorney said in a statement to Fox News.
“She was then paid for some of that work, totaling $25,000 over two years, which covered some of her living expenses. Her efforts included writing op-eds, reaching out to supporters and officials, and advocating on his behalf in Georgia and in the United States.”
The work ended in 2020, i.e., before DeSantis hired her.
Moreover, her LinkedIn page has long listed her Georgian work:
“Ms. Pushaw was notified recently by the DOJ that her work on behalf of Mr. Saakashvili likely required FARA registration. Ms. Pushaw filed for the registration retroactively as soon as she was made aware,” the attorney’s statement concluded.
To the Post’s credit, it did mention that Saakashvili is and has always been anti-Kremlin.
“Associated with factions critical of the Kremlin, Saakashvili led Georgia from 2004 until 2013 and entered Ukrainian politics after that country removed a pro-Russian president in 2014,” the paper’s piece notes.
But thanks to leftist readers who only read headlines and subheadings, the idea that Pushaw’s a foreign agent working on behalf of Kremlin interests went viral nevertheless.
In @GOP everything leads to Putin!
— G Morriss (@grmorriss) June 8, 2022
A nasty piece of work this Pushaw. Kremlin written all over her.
— Dr. Nancy Kaplan, DPM 🇺🇸🌈🏳️🌈🌻🌻🇺🇦 (@JerseyGardenDog) June 9, 2022
I’ve been warning yall about Pushaw. You can smell the Kremlin on her.
— FabrizzioBall (@FabricioBarril1) June 8, 2022
As it turns out, I reckon Christina Pushaw sounded to me like a Kremlin spokesperson because she was a Kremlin spokesperson. 🤷🏻♂️
— Joshua Lander 🇺🇦 (@lander) June 8, 2022
Ron DeSantis’s spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, is scrambling to register as a foreign agent for the former Soviet nation of Georgia, for work she did there between 2018 to 2020..
Many MAGAs have ties to foreign countries and they all seem to lead to Russia.
— Old Man Lefty (@OldManLefty1) June 9, 2022
Even a major cartoonist fell for this narrative:
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) June 9, 2022
Critics suspect the Post knew full well that this sort of false narrative would spread thanks to their scandalous reporting.
DeSantis for his part believes that the fact that they chose to specifically target Pushaw proves that she’s been doing her job well.
“I am not deterred by any smear piece by these legacy media outlets. The only reason they’re attacking her is because she does a great job and she’s very effective at calling out their lies and their phony narratives,” he said at Wednesday’s presser.
“Whenever they’re smearing somebody, you know that person is over the target and they’re scared of them. I would be much more concerned with my press secretary if the Washington Post was writing puff pieces about her. Then I would think something was wrong.”
As for Pushaw, she’s just grateful to work for such a wonderful boss.
“I am blessed to work for a leader who genuinely does not care what legacy media thinks about him, his agenda or his team,” she said in a statement to Fox News.
“The point of FARA is transparency, and I’ve always been transparent and open about my experience working in Eastern Europe, which concluded months before I started working for Gov. DeSantis. As soon as I was told that I might be required to register, I worked proactively to complete the registration as soon as possible.”
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