TALLAHASSEE – Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday condemned the commemoration of the violent Capitol Riots of January 6 as an opportunity for Democrats and the news media to “slander” supporters of former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis, a former member of Congress before he was elected governor in 2018, said he had no plans to watch out for a “politicized Charlie Foxtrot” event and predicted the coverage would be “nauseating”.
DeSantis, an ally of the former president who refused to answer questions about whether he supports Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 elections were rigged, has downplayed the January 6 riot in the capital, which resulted in five deaths and more wounded when 100 law enforcement officers left behind. The uprising has fragmented both parties, with Democrats denouncing the deadly attack on the Congress halls and some Republicans characterizing it as a largely peaceful protest.
“It’s not something I was worried about in my job here because, frankly, it’s not something most Floridians were worried about,” DeSantis said during a morning press conference he held in West Palm Beach at over Discuss Covid-19 tests.
He added that the January 6th anniversary of the event that Trump supporters orchestrated a fatal attack on the Capitol was like “Christmas” to news outlets in Washington and New York City. He claimed the media only spent a day or two covering the 2017 shooting, in which Republicans were attacked by a man who supported leftist causes while he was training for an upcoming charity baseball game. Several people were shot, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) Who was seriously injured. The shooter, James Hodgkinson, was shot dead by police.
“Jan. 6 allows them to create negative narratives about people who supported Donald Trump, ”said DeSantis, who also declined to label the riot as a“ riot ”as no one was charged with crimes that fit that definition.
DeSantis’ comments in the immediate aftermath of the riot were much stronger as he and the GOP legislative leaders used the January 6 assault on the Capitol as a reason to push for his “anti-riot” legislation.
“It was completely unacceptable and these people must be held accountable,” DeSantis said on January 7, 2021 during a press conference. “And it doesn’t matter what banner you fly under, the violence is wrong, the riots and disorder are wrong. We will not tolerate it in Florida. “
In his remarks on Thursday, DeSantis said those who entered the Capitol should be “held accountable,” but he criticized those who carried out the terrorist attacks on the 11th building. ”
DeSantis made his comments just before President Joe Biden harshly reprimanded the violence, saying Trump was “solely responsible” for the attacks. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat who challenged DeSantis in 2022, said the governor’s Jan. 6 comments were reasons “why the governor of Florida should no longer be the governor of Florida”.
DeSantis took office in 2018 with the support of Trump, whose support in the GOP primary was seen as a crucial moment in his political rise. DeSantis has since emerged as a potential presidential candidate in 2024 if Trump ultimately decides not to run again. The governor has been a staunch critic of Biden regarding immigration and Covid-19 and has urged the state to have several ongoing legal disputes with the Biden government.
Other Florida Republicans who may also run for president in 2024 – like Sen. Marco Rubio – also criticized the ongoing commemoration of the January 6th event, albeit in a slightly different way.
Rubio posted a video on Twitter in which he “condemned” political violence and said that the January 6 riots were “unjustifiable”. However, he also alleged that the Democrats downplayed other types of violence, citing protests and riots that broke out after the Minneapolis Police Department’s murder of George Floyd.
Rubio said the January 6 speeches and remarks were “about promoting a political narrative” that “all Republicans are insurgents, all Republicans a threat to democracy”.
In the year since the January 6 riot, dozens of Floridians have been indicted for their roles in the event. The Palm Beach Post found that 70 people have been arrested from Florida to date – more than any other state.
Florida-based Robert Palmer has received the toughest sentence in connection with the riot. Last month there was a judge Palmer was sentenced to 63 months in prison last month after admitting he attacked the police by swinging a pole at them and throwing a plank and fire extinguisher in their direction.