Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed a protester who heckled him during a press conference on Thursday in Jacksonville.
DeSantis, who is running for president, was talking at an event at Culhane’s Irish Pub when the heckler tried to blame him for the shooting in the city last month — which DeSantis strongly condemned at the time.
“First of all, I did not allow anything with that,” DeSantis said as the protester continued to talk. “I’m not going to let you accuse me of committing criminal activity. I am not going to take that. I am not going to take that.”
“To say that I’m letting — that guy was Baker Acted,” DeSantis continued, referencing the prior incident when law enforcement officials had placed the suspect on a mental health hold years before the tragedy.
“He should have been ruled ineligible [to buy a gun], but they didn’t involuntarily commit him and so, they weren’t—” DeSantis said as the heckler continued to interrupt.
The man then made a claim that is difficult to hear on the video of the exchange, to which DeSantis responded: “No, no. There is the truth. There is something about the truth. It’s not — everyone doesn’t have their own truth. No.”
“You don’t get to come here and blame me for some madman,” he continued. “That is not appropriate and I’m not going to accept it.”
The man then claimed that DeSantis had “allowed” something to happen, to which the governor fired back: “Oh, that is nonsense. That is such nonsense. We’ve done more — we’ve done more to support law enforcement in this state than anybody and throughout the United States. Our crime rate in Florida is at a 50-year low.”
“We have enacted policies so that people have a chance to live in safety. We have attracted people to come to this state in large part because we’ve had a commitment to public safety, so the notion that somehow we’re not supportive of safety is absurd, and we’ve put our money where our mouth,” he concluded. “We’ve put support behind policies to hold people accountable who hurt other people. You haven’t seen us releasing people from prison. When they hurt — when you do the crime, you do the time.”
“First of all, I did not allow anything with that. Well, listen — excuse me! I’m not going to let you accuse me of committing criminal activity. I…
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) September 7, 2023