DeSantis Spars Over Illegal Voting, Touts COVID Record on Bill Maher
Ron DeSantis took home a win Friday after an appearance on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher.’ The Governor sat down for a 10-minute interview with Maher, who prodded him over his Presidential campaign, challenged him over Florida’s voting laws, and discussed his record with COVID.
By the end of the interview, DeSantis had won over Maher’s audience, receiving thunderous applause from the crowd during the back-and-forth.
The two started out reflecting on last Wednesday’s GOP primary debate. “The debate, it was a sh-show,” Maher said. “I heard you won, I heard the polling said you won. What did you win? No, honestly. With Trump not in the race, what did you win?”
DeSantis answered, “In the midst of all the show that happened. I was the one guy that people said, ‘You know what, this guy’s actually acting like a president,’ when the rest were not.”
“Why run against Trump? You’re trying to thread this needle that will never happen,” Maher continued, adding, “I mean, let’s face it Ron, if this campaign was going well, you wouldn’t be on this show.”
“That’s not true,” DeSantis replied, before pitting his record against the former President’s.
“One, I don’t think he could win the election. I could win the election. Two, I don’t think he could actually get the job done that we need to do. For example, COVID. I think we need accountability for what this government did to this country with the COVID restrictions, mandates, and lockdowns. Donald Trump is not gonna do that. He says he did everything right!”
Maher, a self-professed “old school” liberal, took his shots at DeSantis throughout the interview. However, he found common ground on the Governor’s criticisms of ‘wokeness’ and his handling of the COVID-19 response. The ‘Real Time’ host offered the Florida Governor credit for keeping Florida open and called it “unfair” how the Left and the media responded.
“Because you did handle it better, you did handle it better. You were right. You were like, let’s target the people, protect the people who are most vulnerable, and everybody else can go on with their lives,” he said.
“A little better — you opened schools sooner. And a lot of the stuff that’s come in, the information we have, now, we’ve had a few years to look at it, you were more right. And they won’t give you credit for that.”
Maher then referenced a column published by the New York Times entitled ‘The Steep Cost of Ron DeSantis’s Vaccine Turnabout.’ The piece, published in July, had attacked the Florida Governor for his COVID response. Maher called it “despicable.”
“I saw The New York Times did such a despicable hit piece on you, that I saw, because — I forget what the lead headline was, but it was basically, Ron DeSantis f–ked up the pandemic. And then, like at the very end, it says Florida’s death rate, overall, was better than the national average. Now, if you’re going to do an article about Florida and the pandemic, shouldn’t that be the lede? Talk about burying the lede.”
The pair did, however spar over the DeSantis administration’s efforts to stop illegal voting.
“Your state voted to restore voting rights to felons,” Maher began. “And then, through some political bulls–t jiu jitsu, that got undone. And you’re going after people now –”
DeSantis interjected to say that the amendment passed by the Florida legislature “did not include murderers and sex offenders. So, we had sex offenders, convicted sex offenders who voted who were not eligible under that amendment, so we held them accountable.”
But Maher then tried to downplay concerns over illegal voting in the Sunshine State. “But there really isn’t in-person voter fraud,” he said. “Like 11 million people voted in Florida and I think you found 41 people.”
“Right, but if you have somebody that’s illegally in the country and they vote, should they be held accountable or not? I think they should be held accountable.”
Maher dismissed the Governor’s point, saying, “It looks like you’re just trying to stop black people from voting.”
DeSantis called the host’s response “nonsense,” before touting that he had received a higher share of the black vote than other Republicans.
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