Critics on all sides of Twitter reacted to the fiery Florida gubernatorial debate between Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.
Conservatives were baffled by Crist’s attempt to portray DeSantis as the “shutdown guy” for being the first governor in Florida’s history to shut down schools and businesses at the beginning of the pandemic after DeSantis slammed Crist for urging him to keep the lockdowns going.
“Charlie Crist just called out Ron DeSantis for being the ‘only governor in history to shut down schools’ but then said he should have kept them shut down. This guy is a total clown,” radio host Buck Sexton wrote.
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“I don’t think this one is going to work,” National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke reacted.
“This is the definition of gaslighting,” Deseret contributor Bethany Mandel tweeted.
Liberals and journalists put a spotlight on an exchange where Crist directly challenged DeSantis, who has generated a ton of 2024 buzz, to commit to serving all four years of a second term if elected. DeSantis refrained from responding while abiding to the debate rules where the candidates cannot pose questions to each other, only to say, “The only worn out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”
“DeSantis looks rattled- like a deer in headlights when facing the *most* inevitable debate stage question,” Democratic strategist Lis Smith tweeted.
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“DeSantis should have been prepared to answer this. It was an inevitable question,” Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown reacted.
New York Times reporter Shane Goldmacher called it a “revealing moment.”
“I wonder what Trump thinks of DeSantis’s non-answer,” Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali wrote.
Others praised the governor’s response Crist’s claim that DeSantis is a “divider,” reviving his opponent’s comments demonizing DeSantis supporters for having “hate” in their hearts moments after clinching the Democratic nomination.
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“Hard to see Crist going back to the ‘Ron is a divider’ well after this response,” MRC Latino director Jorge Bonilla tweeted.
“Prepared,” Fox News contributor Guy Benson reacted.
While supporters from each side declared their candidate the winner, it is unclear whether the debate will impact the current trajectory of the Florida gubernatorial race.
DeSantis has a whopping 10-point advantage over Crist, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.
Fox News Power Rankings has the Florida gubernatorial race as “likely Republican.”