Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t responding to criticism after his new campaign video attacked former President Donald Trump on his support of the LGBTQ communities’ rights.
Christina Pushaw, a political aide who is serving as the rapid response director for DeSantis’s 2024 presidential campaign, released a statement defending DeSantis.
Pushaw said DeSantis’s opposition to the federal recognition of Pride Month was not homophobic.
“We wouldn’t support a month to celebrate straight people for sexual orientation,” Pushaw wrote, adding that doing so was “unnecessary, divisive” pandering.
While the video references state legislation that DeSantis has signed to limit the rights of the LGBTQ community, it shows Trump promising to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community during his address at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
A few organizations affiliated with the Republican Party also released statements reacting to the video. The Log Cabin Republicans, which advocates for equal rights for LGBTQ+, referred to the video as “divisive and desperate,” accused DeSantis of venturing into “homophobic territory,” and of espousing “dangerous and politically stupid” positions.
The video also shows Brad Pitt, a liberal who has supported President Joe Biden, in a scene of “Troy,” a 2004 epic historical war film. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a former U.S. Navy officer who wed his gay partner in 2018, took issue with DeSantis’s campaign video.
“I just don’t understand the mentality of somebody who gets up in the morning, thinking that he’s going to prove his worth by competing over who can make life hardest for a hard-hit community that is already so vulnerable,” Buttigieg told CNN, adding that he was going to leave aside “the strangeness of trying to prove your manhood by putting up a video that splices images of you in between oiled-up, shirtless bodybuilders.”
Some of the criticism also came from straight Republicans, who are also campaigning for the 2024 Republican primary. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Texas Rep. Will Hurd publicly criticized the video.
“It certainly doesn’t make me feel inspired, as an American, on the Fourth of July weekend to have this type of back and forth going on,” Christie told CNN. “It is wrong to be doing it.”
Forgot to mention something 😉— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) July 1, 2023
These photos were taken during the Trump administration. https://t.co/MUGroQy16x
Under Biden, your tax dollars have funded LGBT parades and film/art festivals in the following countries:— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) June 30, 2023