Then-President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Governor’s office photo
Gov. Ron DeSantis did not view a meme video shown during a pro-President Trump event in South Florida that depicted the president attacking news organizations and political opponents with guns, knives, and other weapons, the governor’s press aides said Monday.
“The governor has not seen the video and does not condone violence of any kind,” communications director Helen Aguirre Ferré said via email.
The AMP Fest, sponsored by the organization American Priority at Trump National Doral Miami last week, listed DeSantis as a scheduled speaker, but in the end he didn’t attend. “He was going to speak but the event ran behind schedule and he had the Lincoln Day dinner to attend, which he did. The governor flew back to Tallahassee that evening where he spent the weekend,” Ferré said.
The New York Times was first to report about the video, apparently adapted from a movie depicting a character enacting a killing spree inside a church. Trump’s head was superimposed on the character, with his victims’ heads replaced by news logos or the heads of Trump critics.
Festival organizer Alex Phillips published a written statement on the American Priority website disclaiming responsibility for the “unauthorized video” that “was shown in a side room” during the festival. “The organizers of #AMPFest19 were not even aware of the video until they were contacted by the NYT,” he wrote, and they condemn political violence.
Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis is widely seen as the key to his victory in the governor’s race last year and the governor has remained politically close to the president. After the U.S. House opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump, the Republican Party of Florida reportedly issued a letter over DeSantis’s signature announcing a Presidential Protection Fund to defend the president.
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