The controversial comments of podcaster Joe Rogan are taking center stage in the race for Florida Governor.
Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democratic candidate for the office, rebuked incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday for a “shameful statement” regarding Rogan. DeSantis said Rogan should not have apologized for remarks that included racial slurs over the years, a sentiment Crist vigorously contests.
“Joe Rogan was right to apologize. As a successful public figure with a large following, he has a special responsibility for the impact his words have. Everyone makes mistakes, and it takes a responsible person to admit when they messed up,” Crist asserted.
“That’s why it’s deeply disappointing and offensive to all Floridians that Gov. DeSantis would reject Joe Rogan’s apology. Gov. DeSantis continues to stoke the most divisive elements in our society, from his failure to condemn the Nazis to his promotion of a disgusting racial slur. Florida deserves better,” Crist added.
The Governor made a form of these comments during a roundtable Thursday morning, in which he joined with Black and Jewish leaders to spotlight a rising tide of violence and aggression targeted to these groups. They come after DeSantis offered an unsolicited defense of the embattled podcaster during a friendly interview.
“No, he shouldn’t have apologized,” the Florida Governor told Fox News. “I mean, you see what happens? The mob will come after people, and they’re targeting Rogan because he’s threatening to upset the apple cart on some of the things that they’re holding dear.”
DeSantis’ opinion on Rogan is notably more forgiving than Rogan himself. On his Spotify podcast, Rogan, while calling distributed videos of his past remarks a “political hit job,” still publicly apologized for the past statements.
“That video had always been out there. … They’re taking all this stuff that I’ve ever said that’s wrong and smushing it all together,” Rogan said. “It’s good because it makes me address some s— that I really wish wasn’t out there.”
Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics contributed to this report.