Charlie Crist opens Ukraine offensive on Ron DeSantis

Crist_Desantis side_by_side (7)
A staffer's comments take center stage.

As tensions intensify in Ukraine, Democrat Charlie Crist continues to challenge Ron DeSantis, questioning whether the Republican incumbent will “support democracy abroad.”

Crist’s campaign released a statement Wednesday challenging the DeSantis administration, posing the question: “Why won’t Ron DeSantis defend democracy abroad?”

“Gov. DeSantis’ administration is shamefully failing to give a straight answer on whether they support democracy abroad, from Ukraine to Cuba to Venezuela. This should be easy, Governor. Just tell the people of Florida whether you stand with democracy, or with Vladimir Putin, Nicolás Maduro, and the Castro regime. Your silence is a slap in the face to the countless Floridians who have suffered at the hands of authoritarians and dictators,” said Crist campaign press secretary Samantha Ramirez.

In reaching that conclusion, the Crist campaign spotlighted a quote from DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw, who stoked controversy when she invoked her own professional experience in that part of the world and questioned America’s ability to “promote democracy” in foreign lands given what she believes are issues on the homefront.

“Pre 2020, I was an idealist who truly wanted to help Ukraine become a strong democracy. I spent a lot of time in Ukraine, still have friends there I worry about now. But the sad fact is the USA is in no position to ‘promote democracy’ abroad while our own country is falling apart,” tweeted Pushaw.

In subsequent tweets, she described herself as “skeptical of the State Department’s democracy promotion efforts.” Pushaw went on to offer examples of where the federal government has fallen short.

“Maybe because we were treated to tweets about Antony Blinken’s Spotify playlist while Afghanistan fell to the Taliban? Maybe because my former boss is a political prisoner in a democratic ally & the day he was arrested the State Department tweeted about International Pronoun Day?” continued Pushaw.

Wednesday’s criticism from the Crist campaign followed up on a tweet from the Congressman demanding DeSantis account for Pushaw’s positions.

“America stands for freedom and democracy. We strongly support democratic values when they are threatened, whether at home or abroad. This statement is unpatriotic and should be condemned by DeSantis,” Crist contended.

Pushaw countered the Crist campaign’s framing of her remarks and the international situation writ large in comments to Florida Politics Wednesday.

“The Governor’s past statements and actions with regard to Cuba and Venezuela speak for themselves. I am not a psychologist, but there appears to be some projection going on here,” Pushaw said, noting that Crist himself visited Cuba in 2019.

Pushaw framed the remainder of the remarks in an individual capacity, reiterating her skepticism of an expanded American role in the region.

“As my tweet made clear, I believe we, as Americans are facing serious challenges at home, with the (Joe) Biden administration’s refusal to do their job securing our own country’s border, as well as the President’s blatantly unconstitutional power, grabs around COVID-19 mandates. Addressing the problems in our own country ought to take precedence over ‘democracy promotion’ abroad,” Pushaw contended.

She then rejected the framing of the Crist attack as misplaced.

“Moreover, this has nothing to do with taking sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is not about ‘democracy promotion’ but about Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Pushaw said.

Pushaw had previously spotlighted the incongruity of Democratic candidates attacking her by way of attacking DeSantis.

“Aspiring gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried attack me, a mere staffer, because they know that they are NOT on (DeSantis’) level,” she tweeted Wednesday.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    February 23, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    I’m surprised we haven’t heard the great Ronnie pontificate about Ukraine. He weighs in on everything else from Mexican drug mules to Canadian truckers. Let’s see if he goes full Trump on Ukraine. I believe he’s Trump lite but he could prove me wrong. It’s happened before. Meanwhile Rick Scott only ever talks about “Chiner” while ignoring the Putin horse in the room. Talk about a one trick pony. See what I did there?

  • Tom

    February 23, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    A lot of nothing from you Frankie, did you and Phil change your underwear after the wipe put by Ronnie and Howland in Jacksonville?
    Crist is aCamillion joke , want a be.
    Nothing story, being fabricated.
    What is crist saying, is he going to vote for u s soldiers to fight in Ukraine? A non nato country?
    Bill Clinton forced them to give up nukes.
    The Dems have made a mess of Ukraine.

    • Frankie M.

      February 23, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. It’s not your fault affection was a commodity your mother didn’t deal in.

      I could care less about Crist or his “campaign” but he brings up a good point. Trump singlehandedly tried to get rid of NATO on his watch. Ronnie road Trump’s coattails to Tally. Let’s see how far the apple falls from the tree. If you’re scared to hear Ronnie open his mouth say you’re scared. If that’s not the case then what are you scared of?

      • Impeach Biden

        February 23, 2022 at 6:32 pm

        Wrong. Trump was merely trying to get the NATO nations to simply fund their defense departments per the NATO agreement. He wasn’t trying to kill NATO, but NATO can’t completely rely on the United States as the European nations have done for YEARS!!

      • FP Monitor

        February 24, 2022 at 10:40 am

        It’s a big mistake to respond to anything Tom posts. He’s an arrogant ignorant Trumpster hack simply looking for the attention he doesn’t get from friends or family. Do yourself and ALL OF US a big favor. Ignore all of his return comments. Maybe the internet troll will go away.

  • Ron Ogden

    February 23, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    Crist is not YET a candidate for president, as he undoubtedly will be in 2024, no matter how badly he loses this year. He has no business inserting himself into foreign affairs. Pushaw was making a solid, defensible point about how America is being torn apart by a mentally failing president and a Democratic Party that is literally gone manic in fear of the beating it is going to take this fall.

    • Frankie M.

      February 23, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      Why is Ukraine off-limits? Ronnie’s already running for potus two years from now. He can’t help but share his stream of consciousness with us regardless of the setting or the question. So why the silent treatment all of a sudden? Is it because his position puts him at odds with Trump or because he is aligned with the Putin loving former president? If you’re scared Ronnie say you’re scared.

      • Tom

        February 26, 2022 at 10:58 pm

        It was 20% Tuesday, facts are funny things you loser Frankie M, alias Alex.

        Good going, your Russian collusion worked well. Biden’s collusion Nord stream 2. Trump warned Putin Frankie, if Putin moved on Ukraine, Moscow was ours.

        There is your non Collusion.
        Trump provided over 1000 javelin rockets, not blankets from Obama/Biden.

        Trump protected us, unlike Biden.

        • FP Monitor

          February 27, 2022 at 1:26 am

          It’s a big mistake to respond to anything Tom posts. He’s an arrogant ignorant Trumpster hack simply looking for the attention he doesn’t get from friends or family. Do yourself and ALL OF US a big favor. Ignore all of his return comments. Maybe the internet troll will go away.

  • Tom

    February 23, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    You are demented, you speak and say nothing.
    You are absolutely wrong and it is false to state that 45 was getting rid of NATO. Total lie.
    He brow beat and demanded that all share in fair share cost in NATO’s def expenditure. Not just U S gov. They all did per 45, except Germany who opposed. They gave us Hitler.

    Btw, the collusion is nord stream which Trump opposed 100% and stopped. Your Incompetent Biden approved. That’s the collusion you fool.
    We are paying through the nose for Russian oil, Biden stopped 2 million barrels of domestic production. Your ignorance along with Phil, Alex, Peter h is horrendous. You were raised by liars apparently. Man up pal. Stop watching Rachel Maddow less, and joyless Reid. CNN is proven liars, you just hide in your liberal Manchurian bubble. I just kicked your ass and America’s Gov did so in Jack city last eve. Get used to it.
    Nothing you share is coherent. Who does Gov Ron have to answer a false charge and narrative? Crist is a Camillion lap dog.
    Ukraine is not a nato member. They are barely a democracy. So you support crists position? U want u s soldiers in Ukraine?

  • Frankie M.

    February 23, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Comrade Tom, I am happy that you believe a special election with 12% turnout is some sort of harbinger for future elections. It’s the small victories that propel us I guess. Wasn’t Ukraine the reason Trump was impeached in the first place? Well that & the fact that he couldn’t resist running his fat mouth. Based on his comments you don’t think he would still hold a grudge against Ukraine do you? He doesn’t seem the type to side with Putin over his own intelligence agencies does he? Oh wait.

    Comrade, at no point in your incoherent rambling did you come close to a rational thought. I award you no points & may God have mercy on your soul. Btw I spent a year in the sandbox looking for nonexistent WMDs just so you can spew your vitriolic nonsense. You’re welcome. #Murica

  • Tom

    February 23, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    So you and crist want u s soldiers in Ukraine? Are you an idiot? Crist is a liar, period. The Dems have no chance for Gov and Senate.

    Yeah you played In your moms sand box. I don’t need your mercy. You couldn’t defend yourself and your mommy, You flip from one lie to another.

    Trump wanted NATO to pay more than the 1 pct., they did cause he demanded it, besides Germany. We have thousands of soldiers in Germany. Trump opposed the nord stream, Biden is for it. That’s the collusion pal. Russia is selling up 5 to 6 million barrels to us you idiot, Biden stopped 2 million domestic production. Cause your extremists hate carbon. Go F yourself.

    If your so depressed over 12% turnout go knock on doors. You are mental period. You are the incoherent one. Only if Dems win some have democracy apparently. What a crock of crap from You and the media. I’ve rebutted all u said, easily.

    Btw, Ukraine is obviously a nest for the Dems. That’s why they scream, to protect the Clinton and Biden corruption $$.

    It’s amazing, over 13 months and you Manchurians scream Trump. Biden is abysmal. He’s 40% nationally and 37% or less in Florida. That’s why you and your Manchurians lost last eve, on actual issues he’s in the low 30’s.

    It’s going to be overwhelming in November. But keep on talking about Trump. You are the ignoramus.

  • Tom

    February 23, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Ignorance is bliss with you!
    You couldn’t save you and your mommy in your backyard sandbox. You did nothing for me. Go kiss Liz and Dick Cheney’s ass like scum pelosi and schiff.

    So to be clear, you and crist want u s soldiers to be in Ukraine. Not happening. Fake democracy and a non nato country.

    Go take a shower and get the sand out of your ass from your mommy’s sand box you pud.

    You are demented.

  • politics

    February 24, 2022 at 11:26 am

    The separatist have demands also what they are are unclear. Ukraine in total can become a break away country. they are not united

  • politics

    February 24, 2022 at 11:46 am

    Russia did not sell the land china did not sell twain. they allowed them on the property it is like saying i want Texas

  • politics

    February 24, 2022 at 11:50 am

    I would have suggested a land deed.

Comments are closed.


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