The Phoenix Flyer

DeSantis skips over Trump question; responds over national politics, GOP underperformance in midterms

By: - December 1, 2022 1:03 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis. News conference at Key Biscayne, Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: Florida Channel. Courtesy of WFOR.

Gov. Ron DeSantis skipped over a Donald Trump question Thursday — What is your take on Mr. Trump being back in the news every day? — but did respond to issues of national politics and underperformance of the GOP in the midterms, during a news conference Thursday.

The conference in Key Biscayne in South Florida was about $22.7 million for the protection of Biscayne Bay, for water quality and other projects. But it diverted fairly quickly to presidential and national politics, based on a question in the audience.

DeSantis is considered a top GOP nominee for the 2024 presidential race, though he has not made any announcements. Former President Donald Trump officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign last month and a few days ago launched an “Official Trump 2024 Vice President Poll” to ask people who should be his running mate.

The question from the audience mentioned two questions:

“What is your take on Mr. Trump being back in the news every day and what is your take…You enjoy a healthy Republican Party in Florda, but nationally, the Republican Party is divided.”

DeSantis didn’t answer the first question about Trump, but he did say:

“Well look. We understand. But I also got 22 million others and we, I gotta look out for everybody. So we’re focusing on getting things done. Doing our job. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

On the issue of a divided Republican Party, DeSantis didn’t exactly think that way.

He went on to discuss what happened in the midterms.

In Florida, the GOP led to landslide victories in the governor’s race, state Cabinet races and legislative supermajorities in the House and Senate on Nov. 8.

While Florida was a big win for the GOP, “the rest of the country, we are not seeing really good performance from a lot of these Republicans,” DeSantis said.

It didn’t look like the Democratic U.S. Senate would flip, and, “We assumed we’d get 245 House members….we’re at 222 it looks like, which is a huge underperformance,” DeSantis said.

In addition, “Some of those voters, throughout the county, not in Florida, but throughout the country, even though they disapproved of (President Joe) Biden …even though they disapproved of the direction of the county, they still didn’t want to vote for some of our candidates.’

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

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