'Barking': Ron DeSantis mocked as staffers shield him after he snapped at a reporter
Continuing his official presidential campaign kickoff this week, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis delivered a speech to New Hampshire voters Thursday morning but refused to take questions from the audience. Afterward, when a reporter simply asked why, DeSantis blasted him, saying repeatedly, “Are you blind?” because he was talking to individual supporters at the time.
The candidate’s campaign team immediately swarmed to protect him on social media.
NBC News senior national political reporter Jonathan Allen on Twitter posted the video (below) and wrote that DeSantis had “lashed out at a reporter for asking him about it while he was chatting with members of the crowd individually.”
At NBC News, Allen’s headline reads: “Ron DeSantis loses his temper with a reporter: ‘Are you blind?'”
Allen reports DeSantis “became noticeably agitated” and “lashed out at a reporter — twice barking ‘Are you blind?'”
The reporter who had asked DeSantis why he wouldn’t take questions was Steve Peoples, chief political reporter for The Associated Press, who tweeted: “Here in Laconia, NH at his first stop in state as presidential candidate, DeSantis speaks for 58 minutes. He takes no questions from audience.”
“People are coming up to me, talking to me,” DeSantis said. “What are you talking about? Are you blind? Are you blind? People are coming up to me, talking to me whatever they want to talk to me about.”
Allen adds that the Florida governor’s decision to not take questions “was surprising and frustrating to some Republicans who came to hear DeSantis speak.”
On social media, many were also not impressed.
“Some of us warned that DeSantis wasn’t ready for the national media or public spotlight, that he had been coddled in Florida for far too long, and that his media team of Pushaw, Redfern, et al spend too much time trolling on Twitter and not helping him,” observed MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan.
But the question really is why wouldn’t a candidate for president, who has been in politics for over a decade, be excited to talk to prospective supporters and take their questions, especially given the history of states like New Hampshire and Iowa, where establishing that personal relationship historically has been critical to the success of a candidate’s campaign?
Former federal prosecutor, former DeSantis administration official, and former Republican Ron Filipkowski noted, “Ron DeSnowflake lost his cool again and had another freakout. This guy can’t deal with people.”
Observing DeSantis is “so out of his depth,” former journalist Ed Moltzen writes: “There are towns in New Hampshire with the official title ‘Town Moderator’ – people who assist with fielding audience questions to political candidates during forums. That’s how much open Q & A is in the political DNA of New Hampshire.”
Huffpost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte had warned, “Just watch. DeSantis’ social media arsonists will fan this interaction for days.”
And indeed, DeSantis’ crew was quick to attack, which Dáte pointed to.
Governor DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin quickly moved to falsely frame the interaction.
“This @AP reporter asked this question while @RonDeSantis was surrounded by voters in New Hampshire asking him questions and taking pictures,” Griffin tweeted. “Perfectly illustrative of the modern media shutting their eyes and ears to the truth to push their narrative.”
The question was clearly about DeSantis’ refusal to take questions from the audience, so the audience could hear his answers.
Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ far-right former press secretary who moved to his presidential campaign as his rapid response director, responded to Griffin to attack the reporter.
“Very diplomatic of you to refer to the AP activist as a reporter!” she said.
But journalist Marcus Baram replied to Griffin: “You KNOW what the reporter meant.
Not a meet-and-greet with lots of people in a crowded room.
Questions asked in a setting where the person has time to ask the governor without distractions, and he has the time to respond with a substantive answer.
Watch DeSantis below or at this link.
- 'Trump’s doppelgänger' Ron DeSantis has crushed any hopes that he's a 'Reagan Republican': conservative ›
- Ron DeSantis mocked after boasting that Florida is 'putting pedophiles to death' ›
- 'Emperor with no clothes': Ron DeSantis mocked for bungled answer to how he would handle Ukraine ›
- 'I am not going to take that': Ron DeSantis lashes out - Alternet.org ›