The U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol convened Thursday for the ninth time, including a segment in July 2021 focused on “the law enforcement experience.” Screenshot of committee testimony, via CNN
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday dismissed the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee’s revelations about Donald Trump’s role in attempting to subvert the 2020 presidential election as an attempt to divert the public from inflation and other problems.
In public hearings that began last week, the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has highlighted Trump’s attempts while still president to retain office by sending a mob to prevent the official certification of votes that would place Joe Biden the White House.
Asked about the committee’s work during a news conference in Madeira Beach, DeSantis initially seemed intent on dodging.
“I’ve been asked that 100 different times. Anyone have a question on the topic of the day?” the governor responded at first.
(It’s not clear that’s true, at least publicly — DeSantis actually declined to take questions during media appearances since the committee hearings opened on Thursday evening.)
Then he decided to answer the question.
“What I would say is this: Why weren’t they doing hearings about more energy? Why aren’t they doing hearings about inflation? Why are they constantly beating this dead horse?” DeSantis demanded.
“Yes, we understand that; that was a year and a half ago,” he said, apparently referring to the mob attack on the Capitol.
“And let’s focus on things that are concerning American people today and helping us get through this period today,” he continued.
The bipartisan Jan. 6 panel has presented evidence that Trump pressed the conspiracy theory that he’d been robbed of reelection even though the vast majority of his aides insisted that was not true, and that he encouraged the mob attack.
Still, DeSantis insisted:
“The D.C., New York media, they live in a bubble. They do not care about any of us out here in other parts and they think this is the, like, most important thing. And then you look at these election results and you have Republicans winning in South Texas on the border down there last night.”
(Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez in a special election for a U.S. House seat on Tuesday, as the Texas Tribune reported.)
“It’s one thing to kind of get some policies wrong but then it’s another thing just to have your head in the sand about what’s going on in this country,” DeSantis said.
“And they’re showing that they don’t care about what you’re going through as the gas pump, they don’t care about what you’re going through at the grocery store or rent or all these other things. And it’s skyrocketed since Biden took office. They’re trying to divert attention away from that and focus on other things that they think will help mobilize their voter base.
“You know, and that’s just something that they’re free to do. But the American people are also free to send them packing this November, and that’s what’s going to happen,” the governor said.
The governor was also asked about Elon Musk’s pronouncement on Twitter that he is inclined to vote for DeSantis for president in 2024.
“I supported Yang last time, but DeSantis has a better chance of winning,” Musk tweeted.
DeSantis replied: “What I would say is, I’m focused on 2022. But, with Elon Musk, what I would say is: I welcome support from African Americans. What can I say?”
Musk is a white immigrant from South Africa.
Florida State Guard
DeSantis called the news conference at an American Legion post to announce his appointment of retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Chris Graham as director of the Florida State Guard. That’s a new, civilian force he pushed through the Legislature to supplement the Florida National Guard.
The force will be under DeSantis’ control and not subject to mobilization by the president. The governor has pitched the $10 million, 400-member guard as an answer to emergencies including storms and pandemics.
But Graham’s immediate boss will be the commander of the Florida National Guard, Maj. Gen. James Eifert.
DeSantis described Graham as a native Floridian and expert in anti-terrorism planning and operations.
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