Oct 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis ramps up crusade against media on heels of Biden visit

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a campaign stop on Aug. 24, 2022.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a campaign stop on Aug. 24, 2022. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) criticized the "national regime media" in an interview published on the heels of President Biden's visit on Wednesday to survey the damage from Hurricane Ian.

Why it matters: The trip, which the White House has said will be "above politics," comes as DeSantis has steered clear of his usual provocations — against Biden and the media — as the hurricane has battered his state.

The big picture: He's invoked a conciliatory tone during the storm, saying that he was "thankful" for the Biden administration's assistance and that "we all need to work together, regardless of party lines."

  • "At the end of the day, I view this as something that you’ve got folks that are in need, and local, federal and state, we have a need to work together,” DeSantis said at a briefing last week, AP reports.
  • It's a shift from the rising conservative star, who has sparred with Biden on numerous issues and said earlier this year that Biden "hates Florida" and has assailed the administration's COVID-19 policies.

Yes, but: The Republican governor, a potential 2024 nominee, in an interview with Florida's Voice resumed his combative tone with the press, saying that the "national regime media" wanted the hurricane to hit Tampa, "because they thought that'd be worse for Florida."

  • "That's how these people think. They don't care about the people of this state, they don't care about the people of this community. They want to use storms and destruction from storms as a way to advance their agenda," he said.
  • "If they can use it to pursue their political agenda, they will do it."
  • DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to an Axios request for comment.

Between the lines: DeSantis has explained his approach towards the "corporate media" as something that "you've got to fight back against," the New York Times reports.

  • "Too long, for many of these Republicans, they would always defer to the corporate media," DeSantis said during an interview on the conservative podcast "Ruthless."
  • "They would try to impress the corporate media. Don't work with them. You've got to beat them. You’ve got to fight back against them."
  • Twitter also once suspended the account of DeSantis' press secretary for violating rules on "abusive behavior."
  • In one tweet aimed at the Associated Press that has since been deleted, press secretary Christina Pushaw wrote, "Drag them," referring to the outlet

What to watch: It remains to be seen which tone DeSantis, who is facing a re-election fight in November, invokes over the next several weeks — and beyond.

  • "He’s just got to get the job done," Richard Conley, a University of Florida political science professor, told the AP.
  • "The question will be: Going forward, does he look very statesmanlike? Does this help him with an eventual 2024 run? I don’t know, it remains to be seen."

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