On Wednesday, Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis made his long-awaited presidential campaign announcement during a Twitter space with Elon Musk followed by numerous appearances on cable news and radio. Later on Wednesday evening, DeSantis held a call with members of conservative media where they asked the governor questions about how he’ll beat Donald Trump and what he’ll do if he’s elected President.
The call which was helpfully transcribed by Mediaite showed leftwing propagandists like The View’s Alyssa Farah Griffin and Puck News’s Tara Palmeri were wrong about DeSantis hiding from the press or simply only speaking to “friendly press” since the call with conservative reporters frequently challenged the governor on a wide range of issues.
DeSantis kicked off the call by addressing the elephant in the room which was the Twitter space that crashed a few times during his announcement event with Musk: “We are at a internet-breaking start with Elon Musk. You know, he offered me the ability to do either a SpaceX rocket or Twitter. I just figured Twitter would be safer. Turns out that we had too many people that tried to join. So in some respects, you know, that’s a that’s a good sign.”
The first reporter DeSantis’s team called on was RealClearPolitics’ Phillip Wegmann who asked an intelligent and substantive question: “You made the contrast with the former president implicit at times. Going forward, do you believe that you will make more than just an affirmative case for yourself, but an explicit case for why Donald Trump should not be reelected?”
DeSantis replied that Trump was already “drawing, I think helpful contrast with me now. He’s running attacks, attacking me for voting against an omnibus spending bill that he signed when he was President.”
“I think he should not have signed those omnibus spending bills. He added almost $8 trillion to the debt in a four-year period of time,” DeSantis added. “He also attacked me for voting against an amnesty bill that he had endorsed–2 million-person amnesty bill.”
Next up, Nanette Holt of the Epoch Times asked DeSantis “What period of time do you think you’ll need to complete that border wall you mentioned using the military?”
DeSantis reiterated that he’s “going to make it a day-one priority. I will use all the levers available to me to push that through.”
Illustrating his ability to govern, he told the story of how when Florida “had a hurricane and down here it knocked out a couple of bridges. People said it would be six months. We got one done in three days and the other done in two weeks.”
Once DeSantis was finished answering the question posed by Holt, our friend Rebecca Downs of Townhall asked about the governor’s standing in the polls and whether he actually pays attention to them or not:
I have heard you mentioned in previous rallies and events you’ve spoken at that you don’t really look at the polls. If I’m remembering your remarks correctly. That being said, you know, you are down by double digits in the Republican primary. That could, of course, be because you have just announced today. And I’m wondering if how you plan on bridging that gap and or if you are still going to just no longer look at the polls. That’s something you’re not worried about at this time.
“When I say that, I think that you’re misunderstanding. Not that I do really care about the horse race polls,” DeSantis replied.
“I would be shocked if the former President wasn’t leading, he’s 100 percent name ID, one of the most famous people in the world, and had been President of the United States,” DeSantis added. “But I would say that I don’t think there’s been a governor in the modern history of the party that has had, you know, more support nationwide.”
Then came a question from Mollie Hemingway from The Federalist who pressed DeSantis on when we can expect the Ukraine/Russia war to finally end: “Governor, you said on Fox tonight you want a settlement in Ukraine and no troops on the ground. That’s a bit vague. The U.S. has spent more than $100 billion in Ukraine with no end in sight,” Hemingway said. “Can you give us a specific dollar amount of additional money you would give Ukraine before pulling the plug and telling Zelensky that there will be no more funding?”
“Ukraine is going to do this offensive over the summer,” DeSantis responded. “And at that point, I think you’re going to be looking at a need to bring this in for a landing.”
The second to last question came from former MRC intern and current Washington Examiner reporter Julia Johnson who asked DeSantis: “What would you do differently with this current debt ceiling impasse?”
“If I were President, I would side with the House. They’re making very modest. I mean, I would actually ask them to do more. But, I mean, they’re doing very modest reductions in spending, which you have to do. I just don’t see how you can kind of continue to go on in this way,” DeSantis explained.
The final question of the call was from Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter: “How do you reunite the Republican Party after you defeat Donald Trump? And then what is your strategy for winning? What’s going to be a very tough general election?”
DeSantis reasoned that “these primaries happen and, you know, we typically come together I get this one. You know, you have a wild card and it could be a little bit different. But at the end of the day, I think you struggle to come back together after primaries.”
“If you have a factional candidate that wins, that is not acceptable to the broad swath of people in the party. And I think with me, I won 97 percent of Republicans in my reelection. You know, we are acceptable to broad swaths,” DeSantis explained.
This call shows that conservative media by and large can be trusted to hold their own side’s feet to the fire and ask probing questions.
That’s not something you see from reporters on the left who simply give their favorite candidates and politicians a foot massage.
The full transcript provided by Mediaite is linked here.
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