February 21, 2024

DeSantis Accepts Responsibility for His Campaign’s Anti-LGBTQ Video

  • Ron DeSantis publicly acknowledged responsibility for an anti-LGBTQ video promoted by his campaign.
  • The Florida Governor argued he wasn’t personally involved and that it was a “rapid response thing.”
  • He also insisted that he doesn’t “believe in demeaning anybody.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday publicly acknowledged responsibility for an anti-LGBTQ video that was widely condemned as homophobic.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, the 2024 presidential candidate was asked whether the video — which condemns former President Donald Trump for being too accepting of the LGBTQ community — was “subtracting, not adding” to potential supporters.

DeSantis defended the video, as he has before, by arguing that the point was to emphasize Trump’s willingness to allow transgender women to participate in his beauty pageants and his support for transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

“Those are the two issues, I think they’re totally legitimate,” said DeSantis. “I don’t believe in demeaning anybody, and we have not done that since I’ve been governor.”

Notably, the original video included the favorable portrayal of headlines and commentary arguing that DeSantis’ anti-trans laws “literally threaten trans existence.”

Nonetheless, DeSantis publicly acknowledged responsibility for the video.

“These things get shared or whatever — and look, I’m responsible for it, don’t get me wrong,” said DeSantis. “But the idea that I was sitting there like ‘oh, share this video,’ no, it was a rapid response thing.”

As the New York Times first reported, the video was made by a member of DeSantis’ campaign and then passed to an anonymous Twitter user to post. The video was then promoted by DeSantis’ official “war room” Twitter account.

Reporting from Semafor on Monday offered a closer look at the Signal chat where rapid-response videos — including one that included a Nazi symbol — were workshopped and approved by senior members of DeSantis’ communications team. The video has since been deleted by the anonymous Twitter user that shared it.

And while DeSantis insists that the video was only about a narrow set of issues pertaining to transgender people, the video was broadly interpreted as a broadside against all LGBTQ people generally.

“Today’s message from the DeSantis campaign War Room is divisive and desperate. Republicans and other commonsense conservatives know Ron DeSantis has alienated swing-state and younger voters,” said the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative LGBTQ organization, in a statement at the time.

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