Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press conference interrupted, again: ‘You’re lying to the public’

Hecklers wearing face masks interrupted Gov. Ron DeSantis' news conference in Orlando July 20, 2020. Hecklers were escorted out by officers but continued to yell and beat on windows. Credit: Screenshot, Florida Channel.

Within a few minutes during a news conference in Orlando, Gov. Ron DeSantis was interrupted by hecklers who were dissatisfied with the Republican governor’s response to COVID-19 in Florida.

DeSantis was in the middle of a sentence, addressing antibody testing related to COVID-19, when a group of what appeared to be protesters wearing face masks shouted, “Shame on you … you are lying to the public!”

With a smirk, Gov. DeSantis responded by saying, “We will not be defunding the police, so don’t worry about that, we will be supporting our men and women in law enforcement,” as the hecklers were escorted out the building by police officers.

Later, the protesters could be heard over a Florida Channel feed beating on the windows and yelling as the news conference continued.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in an email to the Phoenix regarding the protesters that “there were no arrests and we don’t have any further information.”

The Florida Phoenix previously reported last week that DeSantis was interrupted by a heckler who yelled “Shame on you!” during a news conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami-Dade County.

Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference in Orlando, discussing antibodies to COVID-19. Credit: Screenshot, Florida Channel.

DeSantis joined OneBlood representatives on Monday to encourage Floridians who have recovered from the COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma, which they said can be used as a treatment option for those infected. The company handles blood donations.

Many Floridians have asked how they can be “helpful in the fight of COVID-19,” DeSantis said. In March, there wasn’t a lot of information on treating patients, he added.

“There is another way that you can help, and that is, for those who have been infected with COVID-19 and developed antibodies for the disease, donate your blood,” DeSantis said. “And OneBlood is really leading the charge.”

OneBlood describes convalescent plasma on its website as “antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood” from recovered COVID-19 patients.

“Transfusing plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.”

Antibody testing is a way to diagnosis a COVID-19 infection. It has been available in the state “for the last several weeks” at numerous drive-through sites, DeSantis said.

“If you’re somebody that thinks that you may have been infected in the past, you can go, it is a blood draw … . If you do test positive for antibodies, you’ll get the result right there,” DeSantis said.

“One of the best things you can do if you’re somebody who has recovered from COVID-19, is to donate blood.”

Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.