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Ron DeSantis Fumbles Through Fox News Interview on Homophobic Campaign Ad

Ron DeSantis Fumbles Through Fox News Interview on Homophobic Campaign Ad

Bret Baier and Ron Desantis

DeSantis's constant head shaking gave away that the question made the unapolgogetic Republican uncomforable.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s bobblehead is back. This time, the flustered Republican seeking his party’s nomination for president in 2024 began shaking his head around like he does when panicked or defensive. He was responding to a question about a homophobic ad his campaign ran recently, for which he was widely criticized in both Republican and Democratic circles but that he continues to defend.

Speaking to Fox News host Bret Baier on the right-wing media network Monday, DeSantis was asked why he greenlit the “bizarre” and “politically stupid” video.

“Why did you do that ad, and what do you say to people that you’re subtracting, not adding to potential supporters?” Baier asked DeSantis. The ad was critical of former President Donald Trump’s partial embrace of the LGBTQ+ community in the aftermath of the 2016 Pulse shooting in Orlando

“What they hit him on was injecting men into women’s competitions, which he did with his beauty pageants, and then he’s expressed support for allowing men to use women’s locker rooms and bathrooms,” DeSantis said, indicating his lack of belief that transgender people exist.

“So those are the two issues. I think those are totally legitimate,” added the governor, who has implemented what critics have condemned as mean-spirited policies attacking transgender Floridians’ access to medication and erasing the LGBTQ+ community with his “don’t say gay” law that forbids teaching public school kids from kindergarten through graduation about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday returned to Florida in the wake of news that DeSantis’s education department had approved a new history curriculum that included teaching the “benefits” of slavery.

Harris made clear that true history could not be erased through efforts to demean Black Americans through a whitewashing of history.

“They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us in an attempt to divide and distract our nation with unnecessary debates. And now they attempt to legitimize these unnecessary debates with a proposal that most recently came in of a politically motivated roundtable,” Harris said. “There is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact: There were no redeeming qualities of slavery.”

DeSantis continued his answer to Baier.

“I don’t believe in demeaning anybody, and we have not done that since I’ve been governor,” he claimed. DeSantis appeared to struggled to land on a position that both acknowledged the misstep and simultaneously appear unapologetic (because that would be “woke” and thus bad in DeSantis's world).

“These things get shared or whatever, and look, I’m responsible for it, don’t get me wrong. But the idea that like I was sitting there like, ‘oh, share this video.’ No, it’s a rapid-response thing,” DeSantis explained. “But on those issues about injecting men into women’s competitions, that’s wrong. We’ve taken a strong stand with respect to women’s athletics, protecting women’s sports. We’ve also protected women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, and at the end of the day, we can’t go down this road where there’s 37 different genders,” he said as he continued delegitimizing transgender people.

DeSantis has been struggling in the polls, burning his campaign through funds. Republican donors have warned that he needed to control his lavish spending, and they reportedly expressed concerns over his “terminally online” campaign.

DeSantis has positioned himself as a culture warrior, to the right of former President Donald Trump, who is leading the Republican race despite being indicted for the third time this year by Special Counsel Jack Smith for his role in several conspiracies aimed at overturning the 2020 election.

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