DeSantis in West Palm Beach: Jan. 6 anniversary events and coverage are 'nauseating','politicized'

WEST PALM BEACH — Saying he expected "nauseating" coverage of the anniversary of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he would tune out watching the news.

"It's interesting how everything in our society becomes very politicized. Honestly I'm not going to watch any of it," he said during a COVID briefing at the Rehabilitation Center of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach.

The governor said on Twitter, however, that he had plans for an appearance on Fox News. On that slammed the Biden administration's COVID policies.

While at the nursing home just north of 45th Street, DeSantis announced that Florida would distribute nearly 1 million rapid at-home COVID-19 testing kits to senior living facilities and nursing homes as case numbers skyrocket across Florida and in Palm Beach County.

DeSantis said Thursday Floridians care more about gas prices, inflation and education than they do the insurrection, which resulted in the deaths of three Capitol police officers. He did not mention skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in that list.

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DeSantis said Thursday he "doesn't care" about media coverage of the anniversary of the attack.

During a press conference for COVID in West Palm Beach on Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked about the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. He said he "doesn't care" about media coverage of the anniversary or the events planned for the day.

"It's not something that I've been concerned about in my job here because quite frankly it's not something that most Floridians have been concerned about," he said.

Yet on the day of the attack, DeSantis denounced the pro-Trump insurrectionists. "Those folks need to be held accountable," he said at the time. "It doesn't matter what banner you're flying under, the violence is wrong, the rioting and disorder is wrong. and we're not going to tolerate it in Florida."

DeSantis did not denounce Jan. 6 violence, but other state leaders did

On Thursday, Florida state Sen. Shevrin Jones joined the chorus of Florida Democrats in denouncing the insurrection, and said the United States cannot "normalize the dangerous rhetoric and conspiracy theories that empower domestic terrorists."

"For years, white supremacist and far-right fringe groups have posed grave threats to our safety and security here at home, and it is critical that there be accountability and action at every level," Jones added in a statement Thursday morning.

While DeSantis held his briefing, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were at the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, from where rioters attempted to access the House floor. 

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DeSantis: Jan. 6 anniversary to be used as "smear" tactic

DeSantis spoke just nine miles from Mar-a-Lago, where former President Donald Trump was scheduled to have hosted a Jan. 6 event Thursday evening. Trump, however, abruptly canceled plans for the event on Tuesday night. 

DeSantis said Democrats and the media will use the events of Jan. 6 to "smear anyone who ever supported Donald Trump." He said national media outlets based in Washington, D.C. and New York City will treat the anniversary like "their Christmas."

He alleged that media coverage of the 2017 shooting at a practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in Alexandria, Virginia was minimal in comparison to the coverage of the 2020 insurrection. 

DeSantis, then a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said he was safe in a car when the shooting occurred on June 14. Six people were injured in the shooting, and the shooter, 66-year-old political activist James Thomas Hodgkinson, was killed in a 10-minute-long gunfight with Alexandria Police. 

DeSantis said the media attention on the shooting pales against Jan. 6 coverage.

"I think it's going to be a politicized Charlie Foxtrot today, I don't expect anything good to come out of anything that Pelosi and the gang are doing," DeSantis said, using a military acronym for a vulgar description of a problem situation.

"I don't expect anything from the corporate press to be enlightening," DeSantis said. "I think it's going to be nauseating quite frankly and I'm not going to do it."

kkokal@pbpost.com

@katikokal