A video purporting to show Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faltering when asked if he would serve a full four-year term if he was re-elected has been viewed more than 3 million times on social media.
In video shot during a recent debate, DeSantis Democratic opponent Charlie Crist says that DeSantis intends to run for president in 2024 and insists whether or not he intends to hold a full term as governor if elected.
“Ron, you talk a lot about Joe Biden. I understand. You think you’re going to run at him. I see how you might get confused,” said Mr. Crist. “But you’re running for governor. And I have a question for you. Why don’t you look the people of the state of Florida in the eye and tell them that if you get re-elected you’ll serve a full four-year governor. Yes or no?”
The camera cuts to Mr DeSantis, who is standing silently on the podium and offering no answer. The question was met with laughter and applause from the audience.
“It’s not a difficult question,” continued Crist. “That’s a fair question, and he won’t tell you.”
The clip ends at that point, with Mr. DeSantis seemingly reluctant to answer the question. That specific clip was widely shared on social media and garnered over 3 million views and a lot of critical responses.
However, the clip is an isolated moment in the debate and lacks important context. None of the candidates agreed to question each other while on stage, according to CNN, which may have contributed to Mr. DeSantis’ refusal to commit.
The Republican governor engaged with the question, but it was cut from the widely shared clip. Once Mr. DeSantis determined it was his turn to speak, he replied.
“Well, I know Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear, the only old worn-out ass I’m trying to put out of the pasture is Charlie Crist,” he said.
That answer earned Mr. DeSantis the cheers and laughter of the crowd, and even a smile from Mr. Crist himself.
However, the Republican has not yet actually answered Mr. Crist’s question: he never pledged to serve a full four-year term as governor if he were re-elected.
Mr. Crist even asked the governor for his willingness to commit to a full term later in the debate, and Mr. DeSantis avoided again, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Although Mr. DeSantis is often touted as a possible contender for the 2024 presidency in the political press, the governor has generally been shy about the subject.
When asked in June if Fox News was planning a ride, he refused to give a firm answer.
“The interesting thing about me is that people will always inject my name into us, based on what I’m doing in Florida,” he said. “It’s a little bit different for me. I think of course there are people who, at the end of 2020, have been pretty much running and going around doing all those things. It’s just not what I did. I just got myself focused on the task at hand. “
The Washington Post reported that numerous donors asked Mr. DeSantis about his plans for 2024 at a fundraising event in September and that he offered the same, vague answer to these questions.
“I am the governor of Florida and I am running for re-election in Florida,” he would say.