Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stood up for his press secretary, Christina Pushaw Wednesday, after a hit piece in the Washington Post accused her of violating the FARA Act.
“I am not deterred by any smear piece from these legacy media outlets,” DeSantis said during a press conference in West Palm Beach. “The only reason they’re attacking her is because she’s doing a great job.”
According to the Post, Pushaw belatedly registered this week as a foreign agent of a former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, regarding work she did for the politician between 2018 and 2020. She made the disclosure after being contacted by the Justice Department, her attorney Michael Sherwin said.
She began her work in 2018 as a volunteer in the post-Soviet country, Sherwin said, and was ultimately paid $25,000 over the course of two years. She received her first payment, of $10,000 in October 2018, in cash, according to her filing. She stayed for free for six weeks in an apartment owned by a Saakashvili associate in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.
“Her efforts included writing op-eds, reaching out to supporters and officials, and advocating on his behalf in Georgia and in the United States,” Sherwin said. “The work ended in 2020. Ms. Pushaw was notified recently by the DOJ that her work on behalf of Mr. Saakashvilli likely required FARA registration. Ms. Pushaw filed for the registration retroactively as soon as she was made aware.”
National Security expert David Reaboi, who previously worked for the Embassy of Hungary registered as a foreign agent under FARA, told American Greatness that the story is a “nothingburger.”
“Of course, there’s no shame in working for a foreign client, especially one that’s pro-America and aligns with your values,” Reaboi said. “What Christina Pushaw did wasn’t improper in any way, and long preceded her work for the Governor in Florida.”
He continued: “Christina is by far the sharpest Comms staffer working in politics today—she’s exceptionally good at her job, and she doesn’t suffer fools. It’s no surprise that the leftist media is after her, because she’s made them look more foolish than anyone else. This cheap attack will fail, thankfully.”
For her part, Pushaw told Florida’s Voice that “retroactive filing is routine.”
“I voluntarily complied as soon as I was notified that I might be required to file,” she said. “I have been very open about my past work in Georgia, which ended in 2020 – six months before I came to Florida. This has nothing to do with my work or the governor’s office.”
Pushaw pointed out on Twitter that—contra the media narrative—she was working for a leader who was an enemy of Russia President Vladimir Putin.
Put a Ukraine flag in your bio, and you’re a hero standing up against Russia
Actually spend years living and working in a foreign country for a leader who went to war with Putin, and you’re a Russian agent
Not serious people
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) June 8, 2022
A reporter asked DeSantis about the WaPo piece during a press conference he held at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium in West Palm Beach to announce his approval of more than a billion dollars for water protection and restoration projects.
The governor said the reason Pushaw was targeted is because “she’s very effective at calling out their lies and phony narratives,” adding: “Whenever they’re smearing somebody, you know that person is over the target.”
“I would be much more concerned with my press secretary if the Washington Post was writing puff pieces about her,” DeSantis continued. “Then I would think something was wrong!”
The thing that people need to understand with these legacy D.C., New York outlets is we don’t care what you think anymore. 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 of Florida.
DeSantis called the Post article a “totally ridiculous smear piece” that would “have absolutely no impact on anything that we’re doing in our office.”
— Javier Manjarres (@JavManjarres) June 8, 2022
The governor went on to say that media hit pieces against their political adversaries don’t work anymore “because nobody in the public believes their garbage.”