Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took a shot at, what he called, his “worn-out old donkey” opponent at Monday’s debate against Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.
During the fiery debate that took place in the wake of the upcoming Nov. 8 election, the two clashed on issues including inflation, taxes, COVID-19 lockdowns and gender transitions for minors. The moderator also asked the candidates about their plans to reduce inflation and its effects on the people of Florida.
Crist argued that DeSantis repeatedly mentioned Biden in his answer because he intends to run against him in 2024, though the governor has never publicly announced his interests in running for president.
“Well listen, I know that Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and [President] Joe Biden but I just want to make things very, very clear. The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist,” DeSantis said. “And you want to talk about standing up for taxpayers, when Charlie Crist was governor, he ran saying he would not raise taxes and he signed off on the largest increase in taxes and fees in the history of the state of Florida. We just enacted the largest decrease of taxes in the history of Florida.”
“Well Ron, we know you love to bully people and the name-calling you just exchanged, I can take it. But you shouldn’t do it when children stand behind you at a press conference when they’re wearing a mask,” Crist said. “But apparently that’s your nature and that’s too bad.” (RELATED: Charlie Crist Compares Gov. Ron DeSantis To Satan And Himself To Jesus Christ)
The Democratic candidate was referencing a moment in March when DeSantis told a group of college students standing behind his podium at the University of South Florida that they did not have to wear masks during his speech.
During the debate, Crist accused DeSantis of making “political war zones” out of the state’s public school system by signing the Parental Rights in Education bill earlier in the year to bar educators from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to students in kindergarten through third grade.
“When you oppose the parents rights in education bill, which prevents six, seven [and] eight-year-olds from having sexuality, gender ideology injected into their curriculum, you are the one that’s waging culture war,” DeSantis said. “I’m simply defending parents and students because it’s inappropriate to have that in elementary school, it’s inappropriate to tell a six-year-old that they were born in the wrong body, it’s inappropriate to tell an eight-year-old that they may have been born a girl but maybe they’re really a boy. That’s wrong. We need to do the basics, we need to teach them to read, write, add and subtract.”
The governor also said that he will protect women’s sports by banning biological males from competing against females. In response, Crist then accused him of “dividing” the people of Florida.
On the topic of abortion, DeSantis touted legislation that he signed in April, which banned abortion after 15 weeks gestation with the exception of saving the mother’s life.
The moderator asked the two candidates about their stances on performing transitioning procedures for minors, to which DeSantis stood firmly against puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgeries due to some cases where minors recover from gender dysphoria.
“You should not mutilate minors,” he said. “And they went through this when they were minors and now they regret it and other countries in Europe that went down this road have now backtracked and so we’re doing the right thing, it’s inappropriate to be doing what’s basically genital mutilation.”
Crist accused DeSantis of believing to know better than a medical professional and an individual on their “health” and “right to choose.” The governor said they are young kids who lack the temperament to undergo a “radical procedure” that changes their physical being for life.