Charlie Crist called Gov. DeSantis a ‘dictator’ but the governor’s response turned that on its head

Source: Hot Air

Today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom promised a big donation to Democratic candidate Charlie Crist of Florida.

It’s not clear if that was part of Crist’s reported $1 million haul in the first 24 hours of his candidacy or if that was on top of the $1 million. Whatever the case, the race is already promising to be one of the most exciting in the country. Crist made news for saying he didn’t want the votes of any DeSantis supporters. And DesSantis made news for saying he wanted to see “little elf” Dr. Fauci chucked across the Potomac.

Today there’s a fresh interaction which involves both Crist and DeSantis. It started with something that Crist said in an interview with the Guardian earlier this week:

A day before Crist sat down with the Guardian, DeSantis suspended and effectively fired a Democratic prosecutor in the state for refusing to enforce Florida’s new abortion law that bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The move was described as extremist overreach of executive power, and Crist, a mild-mannered man who chooses his words carefully, compared DeSantis to a dictator.

“I’m not one to use those sort of strong words, unless they’re true. And in this case, it’s true,” Crist said. “We need to realize what this guy is doing. He wants to be president of the United States, and he’s using Florida as his proving ground to do it.

“He’s a barbaric, wannabe dictator.”

That’s pretty strong stuff but not at all new. Democrats in Florida have been using it for months. This report is from June 1:

Gloves came off in Orlando Wednesday as Democratic gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried tore into Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“This Governor is out of his mind,” Crist, the Congressman from St. Petersburg said of DeSantis.

“Evil,” he added.

“Authoritarian dictator,” Agriculture Commissioner Fried insisted.

…Fried said she had been the first to call DeSantis an “authoritarian dictator” the way he forced his political agenda onto the Legislature, the Supreme Court of Florida and Floridians…

“Together, we’re going to take down the son of a b*tch,” [Rebekah] Jones said.

Jump forward to today and a reporter asked Gov. DeSantis about Crist calling him a dictator. “How do you respond to that?” the reporter asked to laughter from the crowd in the room. DeSantis response was a master class in sparring with the press and your opponent. He first rolled his eyes and then offered a more substantial answer.

“Over the last couple years you had people that kept wanting to lock people down. I was one of the few in this country that lifted people up,” he said to applause. He continued, “We protected people’s freedoms, jobs, businesses, we made sure kids could be in school and we liberated 22 million Floridians from local mandates and restrictions.”

He also noted that in the summer of 2020 House Democrats sent him a letter telling him to shut down the state. “If we had done that, what they wanted to do, this state would be in the toilet right now.”

The letter he’s referring to is here and it’s signed by Charlie Crist among others:

By delaying steps like a statewide mask order and targeted stay-at home orders, by even one more day, additional business closures and their devastating impacts
on Florida’s economy and the livelihoods of our constituents may be necessary.

Who is liberating these last few years and who was dictating? Here’s Gov. DeSantis’ full response.