Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist was challenged on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday on his record on key midterm issues following Monday night’s heated debate with incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino pressed Crist on the border crisis and his support for hiring 87,000 new IRS agents, a plan that Republicans have widely criticized.
Crist argued increasing audits on Americans would yield more taxes being collected and ultimately benefit the country.
“Do you want to collect taxes so that we can support our military?” he asked. “I’m on the subcommittee and appropriations that supports our military, and I have voted for every increase for them, too.”
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Perino then questioned Crist on his dwindling support from Latino voters in the state amid record numbers of illegal migrant crossings. A recent Florida governor poll shows DeSantis holding 51% of the Latino vote over Crist’s 44%.
“I think that’s going to change in the next two weeks,” Crist responded, arguing voters will abandon DeSantis because of his recent decision to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in an attempt to take the border crisis directly to Democrats.
Crist characterized the move as a “cruel, inhumane and unusual” stunt.
“They were told they were going to go to Boston, they were going to get housing. They were going to get jobs. None of that was true. That’s what DeSantis did to Hispanics” he said.
“That’s not the way you treat people. That’s not a person of character and decency and humanity. That’s not what Floridians want.”
Hemmer raised the issue of the historic number of migrant encounters at the border in fiscal year 2022, which surpassed 2 million. He asked how Crist could support the Biden administration’s handling of the situation.
Crist laid the blame on Republicans.
“People like Ron DeSantis and most of the Republicans in Congress won’t support comprehensive immigration reform that will secure the border; make sure people are treated humanely when they do come in legally,” he said. “There’s a way to do this right.”
Crist conceded that the border is not secure, as some prominent Democrats like Vice President Harris have recently suggested.
“Of course it’s not,” he said. “It needs to be. If we have comprehensive immigration reform, along with strengthening our borders, it’ll be a better situation for everybody.”
Fox News’ Power Rankings has rated the Florida race as “likely Republican,” but Crist remained optimistic about his chances, criticizing DeSantis for refusing to answer questions on a potential 2024 presidential run.
“The DeSantis administration has taken their eye off the ball,” Crist said, committing to serve a four-year term if elected. “He’s running for president, I think we all know that.”
“I think this thing is going to turn around,” he concluded. “I believe I’m going to be elected governor on November 8th and I look forward to it.”