Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis snapped at a reporter over the weekend who used what he considered an inappropriate phrase to describe a recent piece of legislation passed by the GOP-controlled legislature.
Specifically, the GOP governor discussed a bill barring discussion of gender and sexual orientation in grades kindergarten through the third grade because he felt as though children that young cannot fully comprehend the concepts.
DeSantis also appeared to indicate that he believes some classroom instructors may attempt to propagandize younger children to get them thinking a certain way on both issues.
The bill has been labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill both by and news outlets who have claimed it targets LGBTQ students.
“I’m just curious, you call it that, I’ve not seen that in any of these bills. Where is that coming from?” DeSantis asked the reporter. “The question is — you’re in the news business — does the truth matter or not? Is that in any of the bills, yes or no? I understand what you’re doing.”
He said the media has gotten “spun up” and falsely interpreted the legislation, arguing that the opposition needs to be “honest” about what is actually in the bill rather than creating false political narratives.
“You have a responsibility to be honest about it,” he continued. “
Yeah, you can create a false narrative, you can stage a protest, you can do all those things. But you’re not telling the truth about what’s actually there,” he added.
“There’s this massive gulf between what [the bill] actually says with respect to these very young kids versus what some of these protests at the capitol are about,” he continued.
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DeSantis said the legislature is justifiably blocking the teaching of gender identity to young children, arguing it is “inappropriate” to teach those matters to a kindergarten class. He argued the legislation offers parents “assurance” that their children are protected from learning about issues that are not “age appropriate.”
DeSantis has not yet signed the bill but has indicated he is likely to do so.