Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and an audience member got into a confrontation on Thursday after the latter accused the governor of being responsible for a recent mass shooting in which three Black persons lost their lives. The shooting was believed to have been racially motivated.
DeSantis’s voice rose, and his expression intensified as he told the person they didn’t get to blame him for some crazy guy. He said he would not tolerate such accusations.
After a white gunman killed four people and himself near a historically black college in Jacksonville, Florida, the state’s Democratic party, prominent African-Americans, and the White House all leveled similar accusations, prompting a defensive response from DeSantis’ team on social media and in the press.
On Thursday, an anonymous audience member accused DeSantis of enabling “people to pursue individuals like me,” which escalated the argument.
DeSantis screamed back that he was talking “nonsense.”
The beginning of the three-minute conversation was respectful, with both individuals expressing gratitude to each other for their service in the military. The guy, who isn’t seen in the video but reportedly standing near journalists in the rear, stated that the governor’s policies “harm individuals like myself” and that guns are given to “hateful people.”
DeSantis cut him off, saying he refused to accept the man’s thinking.
The governor brought up Ryan Palmeter, the alleged 21-year-old shooter with a history of mental illness. According to the police, he was committed involuntarily to a psychiatric facility as a youngster.
DeSantis omitted that Palmeter also had a racist manifesto and decorated his guns with swastikas, which could be part of the man’s mental illness.
The Democrats have also blamed DeSantis for fostering the conditions in Florida that made the massacre possible. They point at his ban on “critical race theory,” a term for leftist perspectives on race relations, and his relaxation of gun rules and elimination of diversity initiatives.
DeSantis, who was booed and jeered by several Black Floridians at a memorial for the dead, promised security spending and said, “Targeting individuals based on race has no place in our state of Florida.”