Gov. Ron DeSantis minimized the significance of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on the one-year anniversary of the deadly rampage during which supporters of then-President Donald Trump sought to derail the certification of Joe Biden’s election.
Essentially, DeSantis said, what happened was no big deal. He said Floridians don’t really care about it. And he asserted that national news media organizations and Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are talking about it as a way to “smear” Trump.
Besides minimizing what happened last year, he used a question about the insurrection on Tuesday — posed near the end of a news conference in West Palm Beach — to attack one of his favorite targets: the national news media.
“You’re going to see the D.C.-New York media, I mean this is their Christmas, January 6, OK? They are going to take this and milk this for anything they could to try to be able to smear anyone who ever supported Donald Trump,” DeSantis said, adding that reporting on what happened on Jan. 6 “allows them to create narratives that are negative about people that supported Donald Trump.”
“So, I think it’s going to end up being just a politicized Charlie Foxtrot today,” said DeSantis, using a military term for a chaotic situation standing for the stronger term “cluster—-.”
“I don’t expect anything from the corporate press to be enlightening. I think it’s going to be nauseating, quite frankly, and I’m not going to do it,”
DeSantis served in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps and was deployed to Iraq in 2007.
DeSantis also suggested what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, wasn’t really an insurrection. “It’s an insult to people when you say it’s an insurrection and then a year later, nobody has been charged with that. People are being charged with disrupting proceedings…. If this is what you said it was, why are you not charging people?”
During the last year, Trump and his supporters have sought to downplay what happened at the Capitol. In Trump’s version of events, an insurrection took place on Election Day in 2020 when he lost the election. Trump has repeatedly, and falsely claimed that election fraud cost him the election.
DeSantis’s tone on the anniversary was strikingly different than what he said on Jan. 12, 2021, when he said the insurrection “was a really unfortunate thing,” adding that “it was really, really a sad thing to see.”
A year ago, DeSantis condemned the violent actions of people who rampaged through the U.S. Capitol and said he supported arrests that are taking place.
On Thursday, he inaccurately claimed that the news media only covered the June 14, 2017 attack at a Republican team practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game as a “one-day, two-day story… because it totally undercut their preferred narratives.” He emphasized that the lone shooter at the baseball game had been a supporter of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator and past presidential candidate.
The gunman shot U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, a member of the party’s leadership, a Capitol police officer, a congressional aide and a lobbyist. After a shootout with police, the gunman was killed.
The FBI said the shooting was an act of domestic terrorism and the gunman was a “domestic violent extremist.”
The FBI has termed the Jan. 6, 2021, attack “domestic terrorism.”
At the insurrection, thousands of Trump supporters forcibly entered the Capitol, violently assaulted police, and vandalized the building. Five people died in the attack, including a police officer. In the aftermath, other officers committed suicide. Hundreds of people were injured.
More than 725 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riot, according to NPR News, which said at least 165 have pleaded guilty — 145 of them to misdemeanors and the rest to felonies.
At least 75 Floridians have been charged, more than from any other state.
DeSantis has long been loyal supporter of Trump.
When he was a member of Congress, he was a frequent guest on Fox, where he extolled Trump’s leadership and defended him against critics. That earned him the support of Trump, whose endorsement in the 2018 Republican primary for governor helped propel DeSantis to victory.
Anthony Man can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @browardpolitics
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