Ron DeSantis says Jan. 6 not an ‘insurrection,’ protesters not ‘seditionists’
Image via Russell Brand.

DeSantis Brand
'There were a lot of protesters there and it ended up devolving.'

Ron DeSantis is defending the intent of those protesting in Washington, on Jan. 6, 2021, even as he acknowledged the event “devolved” into a “riot” despite most attendees not wanting that kind of outcome.

During an interview with Russell Brand, DeSantis rejected the idea that the siege of the Capitol to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s election was an “insurrection,” and said that those protesters were not “seditionists,” but hapless folks who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“It was not an insurrection. These are people that were there to attend a rally and then they were there to protest,” DeSantis said.

He noted things went badly despite the benign intent of attendees, but blamed the media for framing the issue badly.

“It devolved into a riot. But the idea that this was a plan to somehow overthrow the government of the United States is not true. And it’s something that the media had spun up just to try to basically, you know, get as much mileage out of it and use it for partisan and for political aims,” DeSantis said, adding that “a lot of people that were there who were just there and they didn’t have any designs on doing anything.”

DeSantis isn’t ruling out the idea that an insurrection could happen, meanwhile.

“We just have to be honest about it. If somebody is honestly doing an insurrection against the U.S. government, then prove that that’s the case and I’ll be happy to accept it. But all you’re showing me is that there were a lot of protesters there and it ended up devolving, you know, in ways that were unfortunate, of course. But to say that they were seditionists is just wrong.”

These comments come after DeSantis spent much of Tuesday offering commentary on the siege of the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters seeking to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election on Jan. 6, 2021.

During a CNN interview with Jake TapperRon DeSantis said it was time to move past the 2020 election and the aftermath, with the former President reportedly being a “criminal target” for the Jan. 6 riot.

“This country needs to have a debate about the country’s future. If I’m the nominee, we’ll be able to focus on Biden’s failures and I’ll be able to articulate a positive vision for the future,” DeSantis said.

“I don’t think it serves us good to have a Presidential Election focused on what happened four years ago in January. And so I want to focus on looking forward,” DeSantis added. “I don’t want to look back.”

Earlier that same day, DeSantis admonished Trump for standing by as chaos happened on January 6, 2021, as supporters tried to stop certification of the 2020 Presidential Election.

“I think it was shown how he was in the White House and didn’t do anything while things were going on. He should have come out more forcefully,” the Governor said during a press conference in West Columbia, South Carolina.

DeSantis’ change of tone about the events of that fateful day has been weeks in the making.

During a town hall in New Hampshire last month, DeSantis dodged an audience question about Trump’s role.

“So I wasn’t anywhere near Washington that day. I have nothing to do with what happened that day,” DeSantis responded, refusing to directly engage the question.

The Governor has taken the Jan. 6 riot less than seriously in most comments he made about the event, a striking position given that Florida has passed its own anti-riot legislation. He has floated clemency for participants, and mocked concern about the day.

Responding to an interview question in May on “Clay and Buck,” the Florida Governor opened the door to clemency actions for some rioters on “Day 1” if he is elected President.

“Some of these cases, some people may have a technical violation of the law. But if there are three other people who did the same thing, but just in a context like Black Lives Matter, and they don’t get prosecuted at all, that is uneven application of justice,” DeSantis said. “And so we’re going to find ways where that did not happen and then we will use the pardon power and I will do that at the front end.”

In February, DeSantis likened protests at the Florida Capitol to the Jan. 6 riot.

“It’s interesting that if they’re doing that from the Left, then the media says that’s ‘democracy in action.’ They don’t say it’s an insurrection if you take over a Capitol because of that, but I think that’s what it’s getting to.”

The Governor commented on Jan. 6 last spring, when he said concern about the riots that delayed congressional certification of the 2020 Presidential Election was a “dead horse” and a “loser” with voters.

On the anniversary of the incident, he offered similar dismissals of the focus of media and Democrats, diminishing the riot.

“This is their Christmas,” he said of the media and Democrats at a January 2022 news conference. He expanded on that take in a subsequent fundraising email, contending “Jan. 6th is like Christmas for the out-of-touch D.C., New York political and media class.”

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


  • Ron DeSantis is a Fascist

    July 21, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    People died, Ron.

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  • Anti Law Christians

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  • c gee

    July 23, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    DeSantis is delusional just like the MAGA fools.
    Anyone with half a brain has watched the videos and know what the violence and destruction was all about.

Comments are closed.


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