Governor Ron DeSantis twitched and appeared stunned when his Democratic opponent, former U.S. Congressman and former governor Charlie Crist asked if the Florida Republican would commit to serving the full four years if re-elected.
“Ron, you talk about Joe Biden a lot. I understand, you think you’re going to be running against him, I can see how you might get confused, but you’re running for governor. You’re running for governor. And I have a question for you,” Crist said, hammering his points home.
“Why don’t you look in the eyes of the people of the state of Florida and say to them if you’re re-elected, you will serve a full four-year term as governor,” Crist asked the GOP governor he’s trying to unseat, to cheers and applause from the audience.
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“Yes or no?” Crist continued.
Seemingly stunned, DeSantis’ head appeared to bob back and forth, left and right, as he remained silent.
“Yes or no, Ron? Will you serve a full four-year term if you’re reelected governor of Florida? It’s not a tough question. It’s a fair question. He won’t tell you,” Crist said, throwing up his arm in frustration.
DeSantis remained silent, then asked if it was his time to respond.
DeSantis is believed to be a likely 2024 presidential candidate, especially if Donald Trump does not run again. The Florida governor is known for his exceptionally frequent press conferences, often at schools and often surrounded by children, leading one Florida newspaper to accuse him of using “children as pawns in [a] cruel political game.”
“Well listen, I know that Charlie’s interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear,” DeSantis replied. “The only worn-out, old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”
Local NBC affiliate WFLA’s online poll got over 65,000 responses to the question, “Who do you think won Florida’s gubernatorial debate?”
By a huge margin, viewers Monday night said Charlie Crist won, 63% to 37%.
“DeSantis never directly answered whether he would serve the entirety of a second term as governor were he to be re-elected,” CBS News adds. “A rising star in the Republican Party, polling has consistently found that DeSantis poses the greatest political threat to former President Donald Trump in 2024, if they both were to jump into the race.”
Crist also slammed DeSantis for his “horrible political stunt” of flying 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, which he said was a misuse of taxpayer funds. Crist, a former Florida governor, may be right. The U.S. Dept. of the Treasury is investigating DeSantis’ use of taxpayer funds to send migrants to Massachusetts.