Florida Governor Ron DeSantis found himself in a fiery exchange during a press conference on September 7, following a recent racially motivated mass shooting in Jacksonville that claimed three Black lives. Here’s the full story.
The press conference began on a seemingly typical note but took a dramatic turn when an unidentified individual questioned whether DeSantis bore some responsibility for the tragic events in Jacksonville.
The audience member suggested that the governor’s policies might have contributed to the white gunman’s access to weapons and his decision to target people of color.
Don’t Blame Me
DeSantis responded assertively, saying, “You don’t get to come here and blame me for some madman.”
That Is Not Appropriate
His tone grew increasingly forceful, and he insisted, “That is not appropriate and I’m not going to accept it.”
Allowing People to Hunt
The exchange became increasingly heated as the audience member accused the governor of enabling people to target and harm marginalized communities, saying, “You are allowing people to hunt people like me.”
DeSantis rejected this accusation, and said, “Oh, that is nonsense. That is such nonsense!”
DeSantis Outlined His Efforts
In a tense three-minute exchange, DeSantis outlined his efforts to combat crime in the state, including initiatives to incentivize police officers to move to Florida through bonuses.
The Mental Health History
One of the key moments in the exchange was when DeSantis highlighted the mental health history of the accused shooter, Ryan Palmeter.
I Am Not Going to Take That
“I’m not going to let you accuse me of committing criminal activity. I am not going to take that,” the governor said before arguing that Palmeter should have been ruled ineligible to possess firearms due to his history of mental illness and involuntary institutionalization for emergency mental health services as a teenager.
The Shooter Should Not Have Been Given Guns
“He should have been ruled ineligible. But they didn’t involuntarily commit him,” DeSantis said.
“There is the truth. There is something about the truth. It’s not — everyone doesn’t have their own truth,” he concluded.
Social Media Users Expressed Their Views
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One user wrote, “Fascists like Desantis always crumble under pressure.”
He Fed Racism
Another user added, “DeSantis didn’t create racist Jacksonville. He just saw the racism that was there and fed it and exploited it. He may or may not be a racist, but he has a keen sense of what racists want to hear.”
DeSantis Lacks Empathy
A third user commented, “DeSantis clearly lacks empathy of any sort… all he cares about is himself. Dude is smarter than Trump and without any of the charisma.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrew Cline. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.