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Friday, March 31, 2023

DeSantis Defends COVID Response, Stance on Cultural Issues in Only Debate With Crist

In his first and only reelection debate on Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis remained defiant as ever, fiercely defending his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his emphasis on divisive cultural issues, even as Democrat Charlie Crist accused his Republican opponent of being sidetracked by his national political aspirations.

Accusing DeSantis of having his sights set on the presidency, Crist put pressure on his rival to commit to serving a second full four-year term. DeSantis dodged a straight response to the query.

The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to pasture is Charlie Crist, DeSantis declared of his 66-year-old rival. “I know that Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear: The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to pasture is Charlie Crist.

After this election, “you won’t even mention whether you want to be the governor of Florida,” stated Crist.

Although the Florida governor’s race may not be the most competitive contest in the country this fall, it is nevertheless important for DeSantis, a 44-year-old Republican with a Harvard education who may run for president in the near future. In Florida, a state he won by just 32,000 votes out of 8.2 million cast four years ago, he is hoping to utilize a strong reelection victory on November 8 to show the depth and breadth of his popularity.

Additionally, the discussion on Monday gave voters in Florida and elsewhere a rare chance to witness DeSantis under duress. With the exception of sporadic appearances with the conservative media, he has mainly avoided unscripted situations in recent months, like many senior GOP politicians around the country this fall.

DeSantis, a conservative firebrand, has often pleased his followers with his amazing fighting spirit, whether taking on political foes, the federal government, or significant Florida corporations. Former Republican governor and current Democratic congressman Crist has made an effort to position himself as a moderate choice to lead the state, which is always a toss-up.

The candidates debated from behind wooden lecterns at Fort Pierce, Florida’s Sunrise Theater while wearing matching black suits and purple ties. And during the tense hour-long exchange, both guys appeared to enjoy their battle.

Early on, Crist concentrated on the rising rents, soaring property values, and a collapsing insurance market all in the previous several years.

“Our state is experiencing a housing crisis. Good luck with your property search. I wish you success in finding a place to live. “And the reason is because Governor DeSantis lost focus. He is intent on seeking the presidency in 2024.

To help with the difficult economic headwinds he blames the Biden administration for, DeSantis emphasized his plan to decrease taxes and fees on toll roads, diapers, infant formula, and other household products next session.

The truth is that during the previous two years, our nation’s inflation has reached record highs of 40 years, “added DeSantis. “He backs Biden’s energy strategy, which has increased the cost of electricity and gas.

Crist said that DeSantis defied science by restarting businesses and schools across the state too quickly after closing them early during the outbreak, causing tens of thousands of needless deaths.

Crist responded, “You’re the only governor in Florida history to ever close our schools. You are the shutdown person, I repeat.

“I kept the state open and I kept the state free,” DeSantis retaliated.

DeSantis often criticized Crist as being closely associated with Biden, whose support is declining in Florida and around the country. DeSantis referred to the Crist-Biden agenda, saying that Charlie Crist had consistently voted in agreement with Joe Biden.

Additionally, DeSantis defended his first term’s emphasis on contentious cultural issues.

DeSantis signed a bill in April that forbade abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest, and Crist consistently emphasized this position. When asked by the moderator whether he favors a total ban on abortion, DeSantis chose not to respond.

“You deserve a better governor who values liberty and your right to make your own decisions, “added Crist.

DeSantis also defended a bill he signed that forbids discussion of LGBTQ issues and critical race theory in many Florida schools. He spearheaded the charge to get rid of Disney Corporation’s special tax status for opposing his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ measure. He was also charged by Crist with exploiting Hispanic immigrants as “political pawns,” “In order to draw attention to illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, DeSantis justified his plan to transport a large number of Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to a tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts.

“Culture conflicts are the main focus. DeSantis’ goal, according to Crist, is to divide us.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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