Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis is frequently found standing before a podium, facing the cameras, attacking "woke" Democrats while promoting legislation some call fascist and pursuing an authoritarian agenda. But when asked by a reporter how he would handle the war in Ukraine as President and Commander-in Chief, the far-right Republican was suddenly unable to offer a response.
The New York Times on Thursday detailed DeSantis' media strategy as he appears to ramp up a likely White House run: he is only talking to Rupert Murdoch's people.
"As he kicks off a promotional tour for his new memoir (published by Mr. Murdoch’s HarperCollins), Mr. DeSantis took Salena Zito, a conservative columnist at The New York Post (owned by Mr. Murdoch’s News Corp), on a tour of his hometown in Florida, and he appeared on Fox News (owned by Mr. Murdoch’s Fox Corp) for interviews with Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Jesse Watters and the co-hosts of “Fox & Friends.” Excerpts from his memoir appeared in The Post and on FoxNews.com," The Times observes.
DeSantis also spoke with a reporter from Murdoch's Times of London, in what The New York Times describes as a "cordial" interview.
Except for one portion.
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The Times of London's David Charter, the newspaper’s U.S. editor, "writes that when he asked Mr. DeSantis how he would handle American relations with Ukraine, the governor referred 'to Biden being ‘weak on the world stage’ and failing at deterrence.'"
"Mr. Charter pressed for more detail: How would a President DeSantis handle the conflict in Ukraine?"
DeSantis, it appears, grew irritated.
“'Perhaps you should cover some other ground?' the governor replied. 'I think I’ve said enough.'”
That is not going over well with many.
Calling it "a really telling exchange," Ammar Moussa, the National Press Secretary and Rapid Response Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said: "When he's pressed for details on how he'd handle Ukraine, he completely shuts down and demands the reporter ask him something else."
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At Mediaite, Aidan McLaughlin wrote: "DeSantis Snaps at Reporter When Pressed On What He Would Do Differently From Biden in Ukraine." In his article he calls it a "testy exchange," and notes: "Charter did report that DeSantis showed 'a flash of temper' at one point in the interview — when asked about Ukraine."
Max Steele, the director of federal and political communications at Everytown, the largest gun violence prevention organization in America, offered this observation: "The MAGA base has zero interest in foreign policy and when all you know is troll-y lib owning, you're going to get your clock cleaned when it comes to the actual job of being commander in chief."
Geoff Burgan, Communications Director at the Democratic Attorneys General Association, called DeSantis "a (local) emperor with no clothes. He's been running amok in Florida but isn't ready for primetime."
The Nation's Joan Walsh imply tweeted, "Ron DeWeakness."