Asked about John Lewis’ death, Ron DeSantis dodges question
As the number of COVID-19 deaths climb in Florida, Ron DeSantis begins questioning the statistics.

desantis, ron - at flagler health
Lewis, DeSantis served in Congress for six years together.

During a Saturday afternoon press conference in St. Augustine, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a question about a former colleague who passed away out of bounds.

The Governor was asked about the death of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon with whom DeSantis served in the House for six years. And as part of that question, was asked about the removal of a Civil War monument in downtown St. Augustine.

For the Governor, noted for his national media appearances in which he often dishes out red meat on the topic of the day, the question was not germane.

DeSantis “appreciated the question” but pivoted to another reporter, who went on to get three questions in: “Do you have a question about the topic at hand?”

The Republican Governor’s unwillingness to address either the topic of monument removal — a hot-button issue in Florida and beyond in this year of #BlackLivesMatter —  likely won’t reassure those who think him less than sensitive on these issues.

But, ultimately, the decision to pivot and shame the reporter for asking the question was more notable given the punt on the opportunity the Governor would have to comment on someone he worked with.

It took DeSantis until Saturday evening to actually marshal a comment on Lewis’ death, long after other prominent Republicans, most notably DeSantis’ predecessor as Governor, spoke.

“Ann & I send our thoughts and prayers to the loved ones of John Lewis. He left an indelible mark on our country and spent his entire life giving a voice to the voiceless. We are forever grateful for his service to our country and our world.” tweeted Sen. Rick Scott.

DeSantis, a Governor who won by the slimmest of margins in 2018, won the office only after a campaign against Florida’s first African-American major party nominee for that office, a campaign in which the candidate made gaffes that blew up into worldwide scandals.

Soon after both DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum got their nominations, the Governor used language on Fox News that some saw as racially charged.

“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting this state,” DeSantis said.

The phrase “monkey this up” got global coverage at the time, the beginning of what was the highest-profile race for Florida Governor in history.

The Governor doubled down on the phrasing, as Roll Call noted, saying it had “zero to do with race,” saying that those who tried to argue otherwise were trying to “obscure” his point.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


24 comments

  • jon

    July 18, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    WOW! A.G. Gancarski…. just WOW! Are you sure you are not Jake Tapper? This whole POS was nothing but a hit piece with no real news! God forbid the Gov keep the conversation on topic at an event! Then you bring up his winning the election on a thin margin. WTF was that? Then the “Monkey around” quote? Dude? You suck as a real journalist!

    God Bless DeSantis!

    • Never Trump

      July 18, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      DeSantis is a mini-me Trumper and a racist! He is destroying Florida and killing thousands of citizens weekly! He needs to resign now before we’re all DEAD! By the way a good education means NOTHING if you don’t put it to good use 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    • Frankie M.

      July 18, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      I knew he was gonna duck the question as soon as the reporter mentioned John Lwwis’ name. He lost all concentration and his head was moving around like a bobblehead. Looked like a bored kid in a civi rights history class. That’s our guv!

    • Tjb

      July 18, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      He could have answered the part regarding John Lewis, it would have only taken a minute. Looking forward to Nikki replacing DeSantis. God Bless John Lewis!

      • Kimberly Kirkby

        July 18, 2020 at 6:36 pm

        Can you see Andrew Gillum being caught in the Governor’s mansion, by his wifey and kids, with all those male escorts lubed up on her bed with vomit and feces all over it? Oh, and Andy laying his face in it. I think we narrowly dodged a bullet and a huge bill to disinfect the Governor’s mansion.😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

        • Bernice

          July 22, 2020 at 3:44 pm

          You should like you talk from some type of experience! I bet you laid your face in it many times huh! Poor thang!

    • Richard

      July 19, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Just like his leader Donald Trump Ronda sentence don’t give a damn about Congressman Lewis death or his effort well this is what you got here in Florida a second-rate governor criticize New York for doing the right thing and Kovac effort but who can’t find his own way to dealing with it a second-rate governor

  • Amy C Roberts

    July 18, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Amazing, one having an upbringing that included team sports, a highly sought after educational background, a teacher at a prestigious southern private boarding school, a military career as a JAG, and now a governor, he has learned nothing of grace, honor, integrity, or empathy.

  • S.B. Anthony

    July 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    DeSantis is a vile and despicable person. He’s a racist, plain and simple, just
    like the fake impeached president who DeSantis worships.

    The lowest of the low get elected in this state.
    Hopefully, that’s changing and we’ll remember in ’22.

  • Frankie M.

    July 18, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Trying to obscure his message? That’s assuming he had a point besides a blatant dog whistle to his base?

    Ronnie isn’t known for being a statesman. He’s more of a Faux news lapdog. Maybe it’s for the best he ducked the question. Best to leave his mouth shut and remain a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Just goes to show you that an Ivy league education doesn’t make you intelligent. Just look to his boss if you need further proof.

  • Patricia

    July 18, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Wow, Lewis was a man of grace, shame on you Governor DeSantis it only takes a small amount of respect to answer a question.

  • Anon Y Mous

    July 18, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Florida needs a recall provision

    • Sonja Fitch

      July 18, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      Omg what a Fing piece of racist scum!

  • Eduardo Burkhart

    July 18, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    TO FORCE GOVERNOR RON DeSANTIS RESIGN NOW.

  • Florida Guy

    July 18, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Loss for words. When a great man like John Lewis passes one would take the opportunity to give praise. How about reopening the charm schools in Florida. Jesus take the wheel!

  • Penny

    July 19, 2020 at 8:50 am

    DeSantas is a pathetic politician and a Trump Titty Boy. The Republican Party sold out Americans leaving the Scales of Justice no longer supporting our Constitution of the United States of America.
    The introduction of the Trumpsters Party was signed and sealed at the moment of signature making the Republicans Party Turncoats.

  • PeterH

    July 19, 2020 at 9:28 am

    Ron DeSantis : “I hardly knew John Lewis“

    Actually, Ron was waiting for his puppet master in Washington to tell him how to respond.

  • Tom reynolds

    July 19, 2020 at 9:37 am

    The City of St Augustine is FOLDING on the Civil War “monument” in downtown St. Augustine, it really is not a monument, it is a Memorial to Many GREAT PEOPLE! Now the New Black Panthers from Jacksonville along with the Gainesville Gangster Ron Rawls, and his Rainbow Coalition Gang have been Threating Violence for the last three years or so.

    Chief Barry Fox is SCARED and he has been very embarrassing to have as a Chief in the Nations Oldest City in America. Chief Fox is well known for ALLOWING Gangster Rawls to commit crimes and PUSH the Police Department to COWARD DOWN! Ron Rawls, who is like a Jesse Jackson Jr, and the New Black Panthers have a History of PUSHING AROUND the St Augustine Police Chief Barry Fox and City Manager John Regan and EVERY RESIDENT KNOWS THAT! And we are all Embarrassed by Chief Barry Fox and City Manager John Regan for allowing OUTSIDERS to come into a City that is Nothing More than ONE BIG GIANT MUSEM and TELL US WHAT TO DO.

    Now the Mayor, Tracy Upchurch who is a Lawyer and a Professor at Flagler College has recently admitted, after being exposed, that he is from a KKK background. So Now he wants to CLEAR his conscience and get rid of the Memorial. SOOOooooo along with two other Phony City Commissioners, Leeanna Freeman and Nancy Sikes-Kline, the three Scumbags Voted to kick the People who they PROMISED before that the Memorial would Not be removed … RIGHT IN THE BALLS and SPIT RIGHT in on their Deceased Relatives Memorial!

    SOOOooo to sum up my Public Comment here ….

    The Nations Oldest City, St Augustine Florida 32084 … have a BIG Wimp for a Chief of Police named Barry Fox1

    and

    The Nations Oldest City has a GROUP of THUGS TELLING THEM WHAT TO DO!

    and

    Tracy Upchurch, Leeanna Freeman, and Nancy Sikes-Kline are GUTLESS COWARDS for allowing Out of Town CRIMINAL THUGS to TAKE OVER the City Government against the WAY Majority of the Residents!

    The Nations Oldest City …. St Augustine Florida …. will go down in History as a City of Cowards if this is ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!

    Thank you,
    Tom Reynolds SA Gov Watch

  • Rick Plaskett

    July 19, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Ron DeSantis has shown he is a second rate governor and a Donald Trump follower who will lead America and Florida right over the cliff

  • Palmer Tom

    July 19, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    I find myself increasingly disappointed in Gov. DeSantis’ performance in office. Yes, the issues can be tough and difficult to deal with, but that’s what governors in some states do.

  • Jan

    July 19, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    There are more hardcore leftist radical socialists than ever before on this post, because DeSantis agrees with President Trump and not with the Gillum/Abrams crowd who want to bring Florida into a lawless state of anarchy.
    The re-election of Trump is about economic and personal security, while the Biden Trojan Horse, which the radical left has in mind, will destroy the US.
    John Lewis made his contributions to the civil rights movement in the 1960’s but there is still much left to do in his district, let alone our country, regarding race.
    Democrats have only reached out to minorities during election years, otherwise they are mostly forgotten by them.

    • PeterH

      July 19, 2020 at 5:31 pm

      Blah blah blah Communist, Socialist, Looters, Monuments, radical left, AOC, lawless, anarchy……blah blah blah! Trumpsters fake news messaging is SO PREDICTABLE!

    • James R. Miles

      July 20, 2020 at 9:10 am

      All the right-wing fascists have is their usual dog whistle words like the usual socialist bogeyman is the same old, same old B.S. You need a new stich cause the usual same ole, same ole just wont cut it anymore as it has become! meaningless!

Comments are closed.


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