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‘Are you blind?’ Gov. Ron DeSantis questions AP reporter’s assertion | World News


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a tense exchange with reporters during his first campaign stop as a presidential candidate in New Hampshire.

Florida Governor and hopeful 2024 candidate Ron DeSantis meets with supporters after speaking at a campaign event at Manchester Community College in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 1, 2023. The event is part of a four-day “Our Great American Homecoming Tour” through December to cities in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. (Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (AFP)

When the incident happened, the reporter asked him: “Governor, why don’t you take questions from voters?”.

DeSantis vehemently rebutted the reporter’s premise, asserting, “People come up to me and talk to me. What are you talking about?” But he doesn’t leave it there. “Are you blind? People come up to me and say whatever they want to say to me.”

The moment sums up DeSantis’ reputation for combativeness relation with mainstream news media.

The 44-year-old presidential candidate has often clashed with the media and tends to give interviews to outlets such as Fox News and conservative talk radio that are more in line with his political leanings.It also underscores DeSantis’ deliberate engagement with the public, a strategy that could prove challenging in the national spotlight, especially in early nominating states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters want to directly got engaged with candidates.

DeSantis supporters were quick to defend him on social media, noting that he did answer questions from voters asking for selfies and autographs after his speech.

A super PAC supporting his campaign even shared a video of the controversial exchange as an example of DeSantis fighting back against “fake news.”

Yet despite those interactions, Florida’s governor has yet to host a public forum or attend a town hall like former President Donald J. Trump did on CNN last month. He also didn’t take questions from the audience after his deathbed speech.

DeSantis clashed with Associated Press reporter Steve Peeples during a visit to Laconia as part of a campaign trip to New Hampshire. Some attendees expressed disappointment that DeSantis did not answer questions from the audience. While the governor has more control over his media presence in Florida, as a presidential candidate he needs to reach a wider audience.

In Des Moines, he held his first news conference as a 2024 contender, taking questions from some reporters.

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While in New Hampshire, DeSantis was more open to questions from the media, who kept asking him questions as he interacted with voters. However, DeSantis showed a hint of belligerence when asked at an event in Rochester, New Hampshire, about Trump’s claim that he could fix the country’s problems within six months.

“Why didn’t he do it for the first four years?” he asked rhetorically.


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