‘Are you blind?’ Governor Ron DeSantis challenges AP reporter's assertion
Governor Ron DeSantis clashes with reporter, highlighting strained media relationship in Presidential campaign.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faced a tense exchange with a reporter during his first campaign stop in New Hampshire as a presidential candidate.
The incident occurred when the reporter questioned him, “Governor, how come you’re not taking questions from voters?”.
DeSantis vehemently disputed the reporter's premise, asserting, “People are coming up to me, talking to me. What are you talking about?” But He did not leave it there. "Are you blind? People are coming up to me, talking to me whatever they want to talk to me about."
This moment encapsulates DeSantis's reputation for having a combative relationship with the mainstream news media.
The 44-year-old Presidential Candidate has frequently clashed with the press and tends to grant interviews to outlets like Fox News and conservative talk radio, which align more closely with his political leanings. It also highlights the careful orchestration of DeSantis's interactions with the public, a strategy that may face challenges under the national spotlight, particularly in early nominating states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters expect direct engagement with candidates.
DeSantis's supporters quickly took to social media to defend him, pointing out that he does answer questions from voters who approach him for selfies and autographs after his speeches.
A super PAC supporting his campaign even shared a video of the contentious exchange, framing it as an example of DeSantis pushing back against "fake news."
However, despite these interactions, the Florida Governor has yet to hold a public forum or participate in a town hall event like the one former President Donald J. Trump joined on CNN last month. He has not taken questions from the audience following his stump speeches either.
As part of his campaign tour in New Hampshire, DeSantis clashed with reporter Steve Peoples of The Associated Press during a visit to Laconia. Some attendees expressed disappointment that DeSantis did not take questions from the audience. While the governor had more control over his media appearances in Florida, as a presidential candidate, he will need to reach a broader audience.
In Des Moines, he held his first news conference as a 2024 contender, where he fielded questions from a few reporters.
During his time in New Hampshire, DeSantis has been more open to taking questions from the press, who have been peppering him with inquiries while he interacts with voters. However, at an event in Rochester, N.H., DeSantis displayed a hint of truculence when asked about Trump's claim that he could fix the country's problems in six months.
"Why didn't he do it his first four years?" He responded with a rhetorical question.