DeSantis Hits ‘Old Guard Republicans,’ Defends Record in New Interview
Governor Ron DeSantis defended his record in a new wide-ranging interview Wednesday, fending off criticism from “old-guard Republicans” over his feud with Disney and his state’s education curriculum.
“I’m a leader, I’m not a follower,” DeSantis said.
Interviewer Linsey Davis of ‘ABC News’ pressed the Florida Governor over the news that Ken Griffin–a significant contributor to his 2022 campaign–would not be supporting any campaigns in the current GOP primary. Griffin’s change of heart reportedly stems from DeSantis’ longstanding battle against Disney.
“So we lead, and we do what we think is right, and people can support us or not support us financially. But you should not be led by trying to please very wealthy donors, and I’ve never operated that way,” DeSantis replied.
“That’s kind of the old-guard Republicans where they basically always just bend the knee to the big, powerful corporations. You’ve got to stand for what’s right. So I’m always going to stand for our kids,”
Regarding Disney’s choice to insert itself into state politics and protest the Parental Rights in Education law, DeSantis said the company “made a mistake.”
“But we have every right to push back and defend our policies against those who are seeking to undermine them. And that was the right thing to do.”
Davis also resurrected the discussion over Florida’s curriculum on the history of slavery. Earlier this year, Democrat figureheads including Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom falsely claimed the new education standards taught that enslaved blacks had benefited from slavery. Further life was blown into the outrage when some Republicans, including Senator Tim Scott, joined the Left to criticize the program.
“What slavery was really about was separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating,” Scott said last July. “So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that.”
When asked by Davis about the curriculum, DeSantis responded, “We’re not doing that.”
“We don’t think that. And that’s not what that provision means. That’s not how it’s being taught,” DeSantis said, adding that the standards were “written by a cadre of black history scholars, most of whom were black.”
“It was not saying that slavery benefited. It was saying that these folks were resourceful. They did things they weren’t allowed to do, develop skills and then use. So they did it in spite of slavery, not because of it,” DeSantis continued
“These guys were professionals,” DeSantis said of the scholars who wrote the curriculum. “They didn’t have political involvement. They just were told to do standards, and they did it right.”
During the interview, DeSantis was also asked to differentiate himself from GOP primary frontrunner Donald Trump. The governor told Davis, “I’m a blue-collar kid that had to work minimum wage jobs to get where I was,”
“I could serve two terms. He would be a lame duck on day one. I ran 16 points better than him in Florida in my most recent race than he did in his most recent race. I’ve also delivered on these ‘America first’ policies more than I think anybody in the country and would have a much better chance of actually delivering all this as president,” DeSantis said.
“So I think that there are a lot of things that people can look at, but I’m going to be there.”
According to RealClearPolitics, Trump, who is leading nationally by more than 40 points, has stated that he will not appear at next week’s GOP debate. He similarly refused to attend the primary debate in August. Asked about Trump’s absence, DeSantis responded,
“Well, first, he owes it to people to be there. He owes it to people to make the case and defend his record. You can’t be just not showing up to these things,”
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