Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has blasted Rep. Liz Cheney, who was censured by the Republican National Committee last week for taking part in a House select panel’s investigation into last year’s Capitol riot, as “off the rails” and rejected reports of a rift with former President Donald Trump as “total bunk.”
In an interview with Fox News that aired Tuesday, DeSantis said he “wasn’t aware” of the RNC’s action against Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — the only two GOP members of the House Select Committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021 — but claimed she is not acting like a Republican.
“Cheney is totally off the rails with her nonsense,” the governor said. “And I think she’s not really a Republican in terms of what she’s doing. We want people that are going to fight the left. And that’s what we need to do in this country.
“That’s what we’re doing in Florida, standing up for people’s freedoms,” DeSantis went on. “We’re opposing wokeness. We’re opposing all these things. To act like the main issue in this country is things that happened over a year ago, I can tell you in Florida that’s not what Floridians are concerned about. They’re concerned about inflation and gas prices.
“So I think focusing on the issues and showing that we stand for things that matter to people is the way forward. To have a vendetta against Donald Trump and to constantly be bringing this up is just not something that I think Republican voters are interested in,” he concluded.
The RNC resolution censuring Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Kinzinger stated that the two “have demonstrated, with actions and words, that they support Democrat efforts to destroy President Trump more than they support winning back a Republican majority in 2022.”
The resolution went on to accuse them of “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024, said Tuesday that any reports of a falling-out between him and Trump are media fabrications.
“Donald Trump’s a friend of mine. He is proud when people do well, and it’s not just me, but obviously he’s a Florida resident, and he appreciates the job that we’ve done,” DeSantis said. “He’s told me that many times, not only with helping with the election, but just how we govern the state.”
DeSantis and Trump are both scheduled to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference to be held later this month in Orlando.
”I think when media is trying to act like he’s upset at me for doing well, I think that’s total bunk. I think they’re just making it up,” the governor said. “And I think he’s somebody that wants to see, you know, not just Republicans do well, but people that are actually going to stand and fight do well across the board.”
DeSantis, who has expressed regret about not coming out more forcefully against COVID-19 restrictions implemented during the Trump administration, would not say whether he would mount a 2024 bid for the White House but accused the media of trying to divide Republicans to help President Biden.
“They did all they could to get Biden elected, OK? They lied about Trump for four years,” he said. “They did everything they could to get Biden elected, the guy who campaigned from his basement. They never asked any questions about that.”
The Florida governor described Biden as having a “disastrous” first year, saying that former President Jimmy Carter, who also struggled to get inflation under control, was “much more successful his first year than Biden has been.”
“They [the mainstream media] know the Democrats are in for a shellacking in 2022. So they’re trying to change the topic, and they’re trying to drive dissension among Republicans,” DeSantis warned. “And so my message to people is, don’t take that bait … We need to be united and say we don’t like what the Biden administration’s doing, and let’s go into ‘22 with a full head of steam with everybody united on the same team.”