Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has sparked controversy after his security team allegedly subjected a 15-year-old questioner to “physical intimidation”.
DeSantis, who has served as governor of Florida since 2019, is currently among the large field of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Once seen as a likely successor to Donald Trump as leader of the party, especially after a strong re-election in Midterm last year, DeSantis’ presidential campaign has largely failed since his official announcement in the spring. The governor has historically seen his results in the polls eclipsed by those of the former president, who, according to the national average of FiveThirtyEight, leads the pack with more than 50 percent support, compared to less than 15 percent for DeSantis.
DeSantis’ awkward attitude in social situations and his sometimes hostile interactions with people on the campaign trail have weighed on his national political outlook. One example is the campaign’s alleged interactions with Quinn Mitchell, a 15-year-old New Hampshire resident, following her first interaction with the governor during a June campaign stop in Hollis. The teenager told The Daily Beast on Friday that he was “physically intimidated by DeSantis’ security during two subsequent campaign stops” after asking DeSantis a question about the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol and the alleged Trump’s attempt to cancel the 2020 election.
“Do you think Trump violated the peaceful transfer of power,” Mitchell asked at the June event. “A key principle of American democracy that we must respect?”
“I can tell you this…we had a transition of power from my first administration to my second because I was re-elected in historic fashion,” he added. the Governor of Florida responded. “And at the end of the day, you know, we have to win and we have to achieve that.”
DeSantis added, “I wasn’t near Washington that day. I had nothing to do with what happened that day. Obviously I didn’t like seeing, you know, what happened. But we have to move forward on this stuff. We can’t look back and get bogged down in the past.”
The response, which was deemed by many to be too evasive to avoid taking Trump to task, went viral with various outlets calling DeSantis’ interaction a dud.
Since then, Mitchell said he was targeted by campaign security at two subsequent events. During a July 4 parade, private security guards working for DeSantis allegedly “invaded” and restrained the teenager after a brief interaction he had with the governor, which Mitchell called “intimidation.” That incident also escalated to the point where the governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis, confronted Mitchell’s mother to tell her her son was being dishonest about certain things, the teenager said. Later, on August 19, Mitchell was reportedly followed by two security guards.
News week contacted the DeSantis campaign via email for comment.
Speaking to CNN on Friday, Mitchell claimed he tried to apologize to DeSantis at the 4th of July parade for how their first interaction went and give him the opportunity to properly respond to the question, but said the answer given to him was “definitely”. physical bullying. »
The Daily Beast report sparked a number of reactions on social media on Friday, with people including staunch Republican and Trump supporter Laura Loomer lambasting DeSantis for the situation.
“DeSantis can’t even handle a tough question to a 15-year-old. DeSantis has zero people skills,” she wrote on Xformerly Twitter, Friday.
“Quinn – who is 15 and can’t yet vote (or drive) – wanted to apologize to DeSantis for ‘causing her trouble’ after their first exchange went viral. Instead, he was roughed up by security. Casey DeSantis also added insult to injury with that one,” campaign reporter for the Daily Beast Jake Lahut wrote.
Daniel Uhlfelder, former candidate for Florida Attorney General, wrote on Friday: “DeSantis is afraid that a 15 year old will ask him questions.”