DeSantis cites ‘recesses of the internet' in attacks

File photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis
File photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis pointed to “recesses of the internet” where people can share “vile” views and a need to look at white nationalism -- along with other causes -- when asked Wednesday about tackling mass violence.

But he also said, after a Purple Heart dedication ceremony at Tallahassee National Cemetery, that it’s not productive to any gun-safety dialogue to focus on partisan politics, as Democrats continued to criticize President Donald Trump after two mass shootings over the weekend.

“I have no interest in being part of people’s political narratives. I understand the narratives. I’ve seen it for years and years,” said DeSantis, an ally of the president. “I’m trying to focus on solutions, and that’s why we’ve been forward looking on our threat assessment strategy.”

Trump is facing accusations that his immigration rhetoric inspired a man who posted warnings online of a “Hispanic invasion” before killing 22 people at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday. A separate mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, left 10 people dead, including the shooter, who had opposed Trump in online postings. The FBI has said the man may have been motivated by “violent ideologies.”  

DeSantis’ comments Wednesday came as state Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, called for him and Attorney General Ashley Moody to repudiate “the rhetoric of hate spewing from the White House.”

“DeSantis continues his failure to criticize Trump’s relentless attacks on immigrants, such as during Trump’s campaign appearance in the Florida Panhandle in May when a supporter responded, ‘shoot them,’ in reply to Trump’s question over how to stop border crossings,” Taddeo said in a prepared statement. “Like many of his fellow Republicans, DeSantis avoids addressing Trump's hateful rhetoric when weighing in on what to do in response to these ongoing tragedies.”

Taddeo also criticized Moody’s recent request that the Florida Supreme Court block a proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent possession of assault weapons and the state’s pending appeal of a circuit judge’s ruling that struck down a law threatening tough penalties for local officials and governments that approve gun regulations.

Moody spokeswoman Lauren Schenone did not address Taddeo’s charges when responding to a request for comment. Instead, Schenone said Moody made the filings to carry out her obligations under Florida law.