OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Republican presidential contender Ron DeSantis didn’t take kindly to a left-wing agitator who disrupted one of his campaign events at a packed South Carolina venue on Monday.
The Florida governor, who is on pace to become the first GOP presidential candidate to file paperwork in the first-in-the-south primary, was interrupted while speaking to an affluent crowd at the Philip T. Glennon Community Center in Tega Cay by an LGBTQ activist, the Daily Wire reported.
At one point, DeSantis was addressing President Joe Biden when he said, “I have something to say to him: ‘Why don’t you focus on spending more time with your granddaughter in Arkansas, or at least acknowledge she exists, before you worry about our children?’”
Around that time, the activist unfolded a rainbow flag and began shouting at the governor, who largely ignored the person while security moved in to take care of the situation.
After security personnel had corraled the individual, the crowd cheered, and DeSantis said, “And they shouldn’t be worried about our children, either!”
“We don’t want you indoctrinating our children!” DeSantis demanded. “Leave our kids alone!”
“We don’t want you indoctrinating our children.” –@RonDeSantis
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) July 17, 2023
AP reporter Meg Kinnard noted another moment during the speech where a woman in the audience who called herself “a very hardcore Trump supporter” talked about the impact the event had on her.
“My love for President Trump comes from all the despair, all the things that he’s been through, has served as our president of the United States. And he did a good job,” the woman said. “But all the things, I’m thinking more with my heart, and my sorrow and my love for him, and for this country.”
“But now I have, this is the most important vote that we’re gonna have,” the woman noted further, the Daily Wire said. “And I have to think more with my mind and what’s best for this country, and you did an excellent job, and I certainly appreciate it.”
“God bless you,” DeSantis responded. “Thank you. I appreciate that, and I agree with you, I appreciate what President Trump did. How they treated him with things like Russian collusion was a disgrace. And he was treated wrong. He was treated in ways that were unconstitutional.”
“But here’s the thing, the question for us now is what are we going to do about it?” he added. “And we need to end the weaponization of government, I will get that done. It’s not about me, it’s about you. It’s about me standing up for you and standing up for this constitution and restoring this country to what the Founding Fathers envisioned. And we will get it done. We will be focused, we will be disciplined, and we will make it happen.”
The local fire marshal said that around 900 people showed up for the event. Tega Cay has a population of around 12,000 people, local reports noted.
That’s it from @RonDeSantis, who had about 900 people at tonight’s event, according to the fire marshal.
— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) July 17, 2023
On Saturday, after touting her during his candidate forum with Tucker Carlson the previous day, DeSantis said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is on his short list of VP picks.
“Governor, you have spent a lot of time with Governor Reynolds, you defended her after President Trump’s recent statements,” a reporter said to DeSantis at an event on Saturday after the Friday event, which was also held in Iowa. “Would you consider her as a potential vice presidential pick in this campaign?”
“Of course,” DeSantis said in response. “I mean, she’s one of the top public servants in America, I thought the attacks on her were totally, totally out of hand and totally unnecessary.”
“I think she’s been a model public servant and anybody who’s a Republican that’s trying to denigrate her I think is way off base on that,” he concluded.