The 2024 presidential campaign of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suffered an additional setback as prominent members of the America First movement withdrew their support for the Republican nominee after DeSantis’ staff members attacked Mike Cernovich as well as others for inquiring about DeSantis’ stance on the Russia hoax.
The situation began when former Trump White House employee Darren Beattie tweeted footage of DeSantis discussing then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into “Russian collusion” between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian operatives when he was still a congressman.
In the interview footage, DeSantis states, “Putin, if you take a look at the work that they conducted with the spear-phishing attacks and the hacking — what they did was actually a third-rate operation,” and goes on to say:
“It wasn’t complicated. The Mueller indictment along with the House Intel report, in my opinion, sort of demonstrate that. But what use have they made of that, really? Many of those initiatives are being led by the president’s political adversaries, who are found in the Democratic Party and the media. I believe this is what irritates the president about the problem since it is being used to undermine his election triumph. In my opinion, the House Intel report as well as the indictment are credible in blaming and holding Russia accountable.”
For what it’s worth, DeSantis was reacting to a Mueller indictment that named numerous Russian actors for allegedly interfering with the 2016 presidential election. This was ahead of the 2018 midterm elections when DeSantis finally won the Florida governor’s race, and prior to when Mueller wrapped up his probe with a report that ultimately exonerated Trump. This interview was done long before the 2018 Republican primary for governor, which DeSantis won in large part as a result of Trump’s endorsement.
Beattie posted the video along with a query, asking DeSantis whether he still stood by what he stated in that interview concerning this story.
DeSantis, who was a congressman at the time, was a member of the HPCSI and contributed to the report by the House Intelligence Committee, to which he was alluding in the interview.
In reaction to Beattie’s post, Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for DeSantis, criticized him and called him “dishonest.”
Beattie and Redfern debated the tape a lot in their follow-up comments.
That sparked a larger Twitter spat among several right-wingers, and Cernovich—who had previously praised DeSantis—jumped in to demand a response from Redfern about where DeSantis stood on the subject.
This development follows shocking news and ongoing surveys that indicate DeSantis is slowing up since joining the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.