Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, sidestepped a question on how he would respond if his children turned out to be gay or transgender, saying he and his wife would respond to the matter privately.
“Well, my children are my children,” DeSantis said in an interview published Wednesday in Time, which reported that “his eyes flash[ed] momentarily” when the reporter posed the question.
“We’ll leave that — we’ll leave that between my wife and I,” DeSantis added.
In the interview, which was conducted at the Iowa State Fair, DeSantis discussed his “parents’ rights” agenda, as well as some of the controversial policies he has signed into law in his state. Most notably, DeSantis championed a bill, deemed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by his critics, that prohibits teaching sex or gender in schools and blocks schools from asking students about their preferred pronouns. DeSantis signed into law another bill that restricts gender-affirming care for minors.
“As a parent right now, I can’t take my six-year-old daughter and get her a tattoo, even if I want to do that,” he said in the interview. “You don’t have the right to do things that are going to be destructive to kids. I think that some of these parents are being told by physicians who are making a lot of money off this that you have to do this, otherwise your kid can end up doing something like commit suicide. I think that they get bullied into thinking this is the right decision.”
DeSantis added, in the interview, that he thinks it is “totally appropriate for us to say that protection of children means that those things are not appropriate.”
The interview is the latest example of a new strategy DeSantis’s campaign is taking — making the candidate open to interviews with “mainstream media” outlets, as opposed to avoiding less friendly interviews. The campaign has undergone several reboots as DeSantis struggles to convince GOP voters that he is a viable alternative to former President Trump, who is the front-runner in every poll.
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