Charlie Crist slams Ron DeSantis for silence on Ukraine at CPAC

Crist_Desantis side_by_side (1)
'Gov. DeSantis’ silence as Putin invades the sovereign democracy of Ukraine is deafening.'

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist slammed Gov. Ron DeSantis with yet another broadside Friday, this time for ignoring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in DeSantis’ speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

As a battle unfolds for control of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, Crist took aim at the man he hopes to unseat in November.

“If Gov. DeSantis can’t stand up for democracy in Ukraine, how can he look Floridians in the eye and promise to fight for democracy in Cuba, Venezuela, China and elsewhere?” Crist said in a statement.

Crist’s comments come about a day after DeSantis’ CPAC appearance, where he delivered a roughly 20-minute speech criticizing the media, the “woke” left and “authoritarian regimes” of Democrat-run states and other countries, singling out Australia and Canada for their comparatively strict COVID-19 measures.

Conspicuously absent from his statements, however, was any mention of the ongoing military action against Ukraine at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behest that has displaced some 50,000 Ukrainians and drawn sanctions from the U.S. and other Western nations.

For Florida families who fled war and totalitarian regimes, DeSantis’ unwillingness to address the unprovoked attack on Ukraine is unacceptable, Crist said.

“Gov. DeSantis’ silence as Putin invades the sovereign democracy of Ukraine is deafening to the countless Floridians who have suffered under the hands of cruel communists and authoritarian dictators,” he said. “Make no mistake, I stand firmly on the side of the Ukrainian people, and I will always defend democracy at home.”

Crist’s remarks Friday follow others from earlier in the week questioning whether DeSantis supported democracy abroad.

Crist, the Republican-turned-Democratic former Governor, took aim at comments by DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw, who stoked controversy Monday when she invoked her professional experience in that region in a series of Twitter posts.

Pushaw questioned America’s ability to “promote democracy” in foreign lands given what she believes are issues on the home front.

“Pre 2020, I was an idealist who truly wanted to help Ukraine become a strong democracy,” she said. “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.”

She defended DeSantis’ record of opinion on oppressive regimes, citing his “past statements and actions with regard to Cuba and Venezuela,” which “speak for themselves.”

“I am not a psychologist, but there appears to be some projection going on here,” she said, noting Crist himself visited Cuba in 2019.

Pushaw pointed to a tweet promoting International Pronouns Day that the U.S. Department of State posted in October. That was the same month her former employer — Ukrainian politician, jurist and former Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili — was arrested.

While the State Department later addressed Saakashvili’s treatment in custody in a Nov. 18 press statement, it did not post to Twitter about the issue.

“I wonder why I am so skeptical of the State Department’s democracy promotion efforts in Eastern Europe?” she said. “Maybe (because) the U.S. Embassy in a certain country keeps its portrait of (Barack) Obama on display for (two) years after (Donald) Trump became President. That doesn’t seem like respect for democracy.”

Pushaw was referring to reports that by September 2017, eight months after Trump’s inauguration, photos of him and former Vice President Mike Pence were still missing from thousands of government offices, including overseas embassies.

As it turned out, the reason for the delay in switching the photos wasn’t due to protest but because the Government Publishing Office was still “standing by to reproduce” the picture from the White House, which hadn’t yet sent them over.

Despite that holdup possibly being to blame for why some embassies took a while to update their presidential pictures, Trump alleged — in the midst of his 2019 impeachment hearings — that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch wouldn’t hang” his picture in the embassy because she was “an Obama person.”

Crist, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo are atop a list of 11 Democratic candidates for Governor. They’ll face off in a Primary Election Aug. 23.


A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Ron Ogden

    February 25, 2022 at 4:28 pm

    “. . .due to protest but because the Government Publishing Office was still “standing by to reproduce” the picture from the White House, which hadn’t yet sent them over.”

    Bwaaahaaahaaa — Have they never heard of the Internet and a frame shop? Quit with ridiculous stuff like this. It makes you look stupid.

    • tom palmer

      February 25, 2022 at 5:20 pm

      Cheer on the Red Army, Comrade

      • zhombre

        February 25, 2022 at 5:33 pm

        It’s the Russian army, no longer Red, and nothing in that remark suggests cheering for it or celebrating a Russian-Ukrainian war. Gawd, you are such an idiot, Palmer.

    • zhombre

      February 25, 2022 at 5:31 pm

      Ambassador Yovanovitch had the portrait of Hillary Clinton already to display and was disgruntled when Trump won.

      • Don’t Look Up

        February 25, 2022 at 6:42 pm


        Most Americans didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, or again in 2020! Absolutely no surprise!

  • PeterH

    February 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    As reported by the Lincoln Project …… Putin is using anti-American statements made by Fox’s Tucker Carlson ….. as part of Russia’s propaganda machine for local Russian consumption.

    Thanks a bunch Fox and today’s GQP…..helping to destroy American democracy at every turn.

    How does it feel Ron DeSantis?

  • Tom

    February 25, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Total ignorance from retread Camillion crispy crist, peter h, don’t look, and Palmer.

    FP retreads a meaningless story, topic. Camillion has nothing to offer.
    58% approval America’s Gov, leAds all opponents by 11 to 20%. Abysmal Biden 36% approval in Florida, nationally 37%. His Anchor will defeat crist, fraud, tarantula, and Dum demings. 24% Dems support America’s Gov. landslide proportion.

    BTW, peter h we are not Russia. We have free media. We call it first amendment. Tucker and non liberal Manchurian media is allowed to Voice opinion. Your side are propagandists and Dem party advocates.

    All you Manchurians now want war and U S soldiers in Ukraine. Not happening. You can be against Russia and against war if you are a
    U S resident after 20 plus years.

    You peter and the rest are fascists.

  • Jody McBride

    February 25, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    Because of people like you Peter h voting in Biden. We have such a weak president Putin knew it was time to act. So really all the deaths in Ukraine are partially your fault. How does it feel Peter h

    • Tom

      February 25, 2022 at 8:22 pm

      You go conservative sister Jody!
      Peter h is a despicable Lincoln Org predator member. He lies, exaggerates, uses ill logic and regularly misleads. He thinks blue state tyrannical states are better but he lives in red, free and prosperous Florida. He’s a hypocrite, Manchurian propagandist. Total fraud, not Nikki fraud. Just a real “fraud”

      • PeterH

        February 25, 2022 at 8:43 pm

        Tom how does it feel being surgically connected to the ONLY American party that admires Russian murders and oligarchs, hates American Democracy, and deliberately changes 200 year voting laws with the intent on excluding voters?

        Hopefully, new conservatives like Evan McMullin in Utah will help rid the GQP of everything Trump!

        It’s time to flush the Republican toilet! Something stinks!

        • Tom

          February 25, 2022 at 9:17 pm

          You and your hate stink.
          How’s your Liz snd Dick Cheney doing.
          You blood thirsty bastards aren’t happy til you have more brave American soldiers maimed.
          You mean Trump who was the first Potus not to have a foreign war since Carter? So you want U S soldiers in Ukraine?

          Everything you referenced is a bold lie.
          No one is turning back voting laws, lie.
          It’s only American Democracy when Dems win, liar. No sanctions on Putin and his oil.

          The Russian collusion comes from Biden, Germany and Putin’s nord stream deal. That’s collusion you pathetic liar. Trump opposed Putin’s nord stream Russia deal. Hillary spied on Trump, court filing Durham. The mueller, Schiff hoax is proven to be garbage. Biden is abysmal.

          You have nothing, you know nothing.
          You, and Dems are fascists.

          Gov Ron is getting 24% Dems support. He’s 58% approval. Biden Is 36% approval, 22% difference you idiot. Biden had done nothing correctly. Absolute failure.

          America’s Gov will save this country as he saved Florida. We pray for him, our First Lady and his blessed children. He is the man for the moment.

          You and your despicable Manchurian ilk will not win. It’s over for the Dums.
          You will get slaughtered Nov 22.

          • PeterH

            February 25, 2022 at 9:24 pm

            Tom has no problem being an advocate for the most corrupt Party in American history!

            As reported by the Georgia GOP chair to the Jan 6th select committee investigating the Trump terror events of the day:

            “David Shafer, chair of the GOP in Georgia, served as one of several bogus electors for Trump and had convened Republicans in the state’s Capitol to put together an alternate elector certification in December 2020.”

            Millions of conservatives will decide who wins future elections! NOT YOU!

          • Tom

            February 26, 2022 at 9:20 am

            You are an idiot peter h.
            I am a political scientist, electoral guru and presidential scholar. You are a Lincoln predator towel boy.

            Every metric, and every honest political analysis points to this Nov. Republican avalanche. Things are won district by district, state by state. Extrapolate Virginia and New Jersey totals and Jacksonville this past Tuesday in a red state and it’s really bad for Dems. DeSantis is gaining 24% Dems. Dems in general are abandoning Dems as are independents and Hispanics. Biden’s standing in Florida is 36%. DeSantis is 58%. 22% differ.

            Dems and Biden’s standing will bring up to 60 net House flips and 6 to 8 Senate seats.

            Peter h, you are right bout millions of conservatives voting. Not you and the predator Lincoln group.

            America’s Governor, is the new generation conservative conscience leader of the GOP. He demonstrates success with his accomplishments and record. Republicans are responding to his leadership across the country. Wait and see.

          • FP Monitor

            February 26, 2022 at 12:38 pm

            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 25, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    You just got ass kicked twice. Just talk bout Trump, Wah Wah

    Ignore Inflation, war, despair, hopelessness, people not working, abandoned border, foreign policy disasters, no oil, no computer chips, bungled Covid, it goes on. People lives.

    You attack the Repub party cause they are blue collar, middles class, working class. Not smug pathetic elites like you. This still is a party of Reagan, Gingrich and Trump. Not Romney, Ryan and other lap dogs.

    You preached blue state tyrannical rule and live in a red productive, free state thanks to America’s Gov. You hypocrite liar, fascist.
    Go to hell.

    • FP Monitor

      February 25, 2022 at 10:27 pm

      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 26, 2022 at 5:11 am

    F P monitor the ass wipe of Florida Politics.
    Manchurian central’s computer generated garbage.

  • Brian Brady

    February 26, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Why is a foreign war of interest to a Florida elected official? Shouldn’t our gubernatorial candidates be discussing things which they can control and which will make Floridians’ lives better?

    It seems like Crist lacks the focus required the lead the state

    • Antonio

      February 26, 2022 at 4:13 pm

      You are correct. While unfortunate, Ukraine is a problem for the federal administration, not a state governor.

  • Tom

    February 26, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    Crist is an idiot Camillion like the Manchurian Dems nation on FP. He is desperate, DeSantis has 24% of Dems support, he’s leading the all Dums by 10 to 15%. Independents are fleeing Dums as are Hispanics. Dums have incompetent Joe at 36% approval in Florida. A anchor on all necks!

    Crist is desperate as is Nikki Fraud.
    America’s Gov is in command!!

    You are correct Kevin, it’s a non issue.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn