Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is mentioned more and more as a potential frontrunner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, should President Trump come up short in his legal challenges to the 2020 election and not run in four years.
One thing is certain, DeSantis may be the nation’s closest replica of Donald Trump in the sense of holding the media to task — at the very least, the GOP governor appears to be smart enough to question the motivations of a media establishment that often functions as little more than an extension of the Democratic Party.
On Friday, DeSantis clashed with a reporter over a question about Rebekah Jones, a former state health employee under criminal investigation — Jones was arrested last week after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed a warrant at her home. She claimed guns were shoved guns in her face, but video failed to support the claim.
The reporter characterized the arrest as a raid, which suggests that agents crashed into Jones’ home — in reality, they waited outside for 20 minutes as Jones refused to come to the door, and even spoke with her on the phone.
— WPTV (@WPTV) December 11, 2020
“It’s not a raid!” DeSantis said. “With all due respect, what you just said is editorialize — excuse me, excuse me. No, I’m not gonna let you get away with it. These people did their jobs. They’ve been smeared as the Gestapo for doing their jobs.”
Jones is held up as a hero by the liberal media and the Democratic Party because she makes for a useful tool in attacking DeSantis — Jones claims she was fired in May as a Florida Department of Health data scientist for refusing to “manipulate” COVID-19 data to make it look favorable for the governor.
DeSantis said an IP address used to illegally access the state’s emergency alert system, which is a felony, was linked to Jones’ home — the health department said someone gained access to the emergency management system and sent out a text message stating: “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”
“What were they supposed to do? Just ignore it? Of course not,” DeSantis said.
“We have video from the Tallahassee PD showing that they were very respectful, she was not cooperative,” he continued. “It was not a raid. They were serving valid process in accordance with the laws and the Constitution of the United States and the state of Florida. They did it with integrity. They did it with honor. And to say it was a raid is disinformation.”
As for the overall media reaction to the arrest, DeSantis said, “Just because you’re a darling of some corners of the fever swamps, that does not exempt you from following the law.”
The reporter tried to push back on DeSantis, but the governor shut her down.
“You guys need to look at facts and stop trying to feed narratives, I understand why you do it but it’s not supported by facts,” he said.
The Florida media is an elitist clique quick to rally around one another, and they are just as quick to play gotcha games with Gov. DeSantis, not unlike what is seen at the national level with Trump.
Buoyed by the apparent success in exploiting the pandemic to defeat Trump, the left is employing the same tactic to trump DeSantis.
As for the national media, they have proven to be just as eager as the Florida media to rally behind Jones, understanding the importance of defeating DeSantis in 2022.
DeSantis said Friday that Jones was fired “because she wasn’t doing a good job.”
“Obviously she’s got issues,” he added — Jones was allegedly fired from Florida State University in 2017 for having an affair with a student, and would later face criminal charges of sexual cyber-harassment and cyberstalking, posting what the victim described as “revenge porn” online.
The longest-tenured writer at BizPac Review, Tom grew up in Maryland before moving to Central Florida as a young teen. It is in the Sunshine State that he honed both his passion for politics and his writing skills.