Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledges grand jury investigation into COVID-19 vaccines | Florida News | Orlando

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Photo via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

It’s the law of diminishing returns. You can only push the button that says you were a big, strong boy during the COVID-19 pandemic so many times before people stop caring.

Since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a 2024 presidential bid to think about, he can’t peak too early. On Tuesday, DeSantis announced that he’s chasing the high that glowing Fox News segments gave him every time he pushed a policy that needlessly killed thousands of Floridians. He hopes finally catch that dragon with a  promise to investigate the life-saving rollout of vaccines in Florida for potential criminality. 

DeSantis said he’s petitioning the Supreme Court of Florida to impanel a grand jury investigating the producers of COVID-19 vaccines. He compared the move to the state’s recent win over opioid manufacturers and distributors, saying over the weekend that he planned to “hold these manufacturers accountable for this mRNA [vaccine].”

The entire announcement is based around the false idea — largely popular in right-wing circles — that the COVID-19 vaccines have side effects that were intentionally hidden from the public. DeSantis shared that the grand jury move was a way to extract documentation around the vaccine that might not otherwise be available.

“We’ll be able to get the data whether they want to give it or not,” he said. “In Florida, it is illegal to mislead and misrepresent, especially when you are talking about the efficacy of a drug.”

It’s unlikely that DeSantis’ investigations will amount to more than a stunt meant to rile up his conspiratorial base. It’s also unclear whether DeSantis really wants to open up a can of worms about COVID-19 date. But recent failed stunts prove that all he really needs are the headlines, a way to give his nascent run for the White House a shot in the arm.  

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