Jeffrey Rodack wrote in a June 9 Newsmax article:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is ripping into The Washington Post and the "legacy media" after a report that his press secretary registered as a foreign agent for her previous work under a former president of Georgia.
"I am not deterred by any smear piece from these legacy media outlets," DeSantis said, according to WFLA-TV. "The only reason they're attacking her is because she does a great job, and she's effective at calling out their lies and their phony narratives.
"I would be much more concerned with my secretary if the Washington Post was writing puff pieces about her. Then I would think something is wrong."
However, Rodack and DeSantis never identify what, exactly, the "smear" is. They do not dispute the facts of the story; indeed, Rodack went on to describe Pushaw's offense further:
A Post report on Wednesday said DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, registered this week as a foreign agent of former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. The newspaper reported she belatedly detailed work she performed for him between 2018 and 2020.
She disclosed her work for the politician following contact from the Justice Department, her attorney Michael Sherwin said. She reportedly received $25,000 for her work.
"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. Saakashvili likely required FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] registration. Ms. Pushaw filed for the registration retroactively as soon as she was made aware."
If the facts are undisputed, it can't possibly be a "smear," and facts are an absolute defense.
Yet Pushaw herself pushed that narrative in a statement to a Florida newspaper: "The governor said it better than I could. It is an attempt at a smear. It’s non-news." Even she doesn't dispute the facts and is instead complaining that the facts were reported -- which, again, is not a "smear."