Ron DeSantis Stumbles Into Another Public Gaffe As His Campaign Sputters

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Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis received extensive criticism this week after belittling a child he met on the campaign trail for having an Icee, the popular frozen beverage.

The incident took place at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Iowa, and a video of the exchange was posted online by journalist Gabe Gutierrez. DeSantis was greeting various bystanders at the time. “Oh, what is that?” DeSantis asked the child, expressing evident shock. After the child explained what they were holding, DeSantis added: “That’s probably a lot of sugar, huh?” “Folks, you cannot reset charisma from 0,” longtime Democratic staffer Tim Hogan joked online as the footage circulated, showing other children also gathered.

Though an isolated interaction lasting well under half a minute, the exchange connects rather closely to some of the governor’s policy pushes in his home state.

There, he has sought to at times dramatically restrict what information can be accessed and conversations can be had in schools, with the restrictions nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay” having been extended by state administrative action through the end of high school in public schools. (The framework blocks classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity.) DeSantis has also provided support for interests like parents who’ve sought to see books removed from their local schools in efforts that have been accused of disproportionately targeting titles featuring characters from — or otherwise touching on — marginalized communities.

He even spoke at the recent national conference held in Philadelphia by Moms for Liberty, a parents organization that has been involved in efforts like book challenges and that has also attracted intense opposition for its right-wing focus. Protesters assembled throughout the city around the time of that gathering. And the governor has also cast some of his arguably discriminatory and, according to opponents, overbroad legislation restricting LGBTQ+ Floridians as meant to protect children, though there is no evidence of the systematic threats he consistently posits.

See the video, followed by some replies from Twitter, below:


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