Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” defended Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) against attacks he has faced from media and a Democrat politician who criticized DeSantis on the show’s most recent broadcast.
Maher’s remarks about DeSantis come after the governor became a top story of last week’s midterm elections after winning in blowout fashion and lifting down-ballot Republicans in the state as GOP candidates in other states struggled. A post-election poll has shown the Republicans now prefer DeSantis over former President Donald Trump for the party’s 2024 nominee by seven points.
“The reason why I think DeSantis is so strong is because he can do both things,” Maher said during a panel discussion with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and CBS News correspondent Robert Costa. “He can do the performance art that seems to have you so exercised to the base, most of which I don’t really know if it’s that damaging.”
“He picks a fight with Disney,” Maher continued. “Does it really affect anybody? I mean, I read that ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ which is not the name of the law. They called it the Don’t Say Gay law. It could have been called the ‘let’s do things in schools the way we did five years ago’ law. It really could’ve.”
The crowd responded with applause at that moment.
“So what I’m saying is he can do both that — But he yes, he, he knows how to rile up the base. I agree. He’s a politician — but he also can be a normal governor,” Maher said. “In other words, after the storm, he can stand with President Biden like a normal governor does and work with them and then send some migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. You know, and that’s a very powerful thing to have both those elements.”
Khanna then appeared to panic about DeSantis’ rise and complained that he didn’t have a foreign policy agenda. Maher responded by noting that DeSantis is a governor and Florida is not a part of the United Nations, so it would be pointless for DeSantis to focus on global policies.
Later in the show, Maher said that Biden would beat Trump in a rematch in 2024, but he wasn’t sure that Biden could beat DeSantis.
“Would he beat DeSantis?” Maher said. “That I don’t know. And It’s gonna look weird, because he will be like literally twice as old as him, no really, and DeSantis has like three little kids. You know, that always plays well in America. America likes new.”
“DeSantis should run now and quickly,” Maher said. “This is the problem with Chris Christie.”
“Right,” Costa said. “He could have run in 2011, 2012. Sometimes in politics you have one chance.”
“The longer you stay at the fair the more you get beat up,” Maher said. “Like when Obama ran they said, ‘he has no record,’ he went, ‘Good. Great. I’m glad I have no record.'”
“This is his moment in the sense that the Republican Party for the first time in seven years is starting to say” no to Trump, Costa added.
“Exactly,” Maher responded.
Bill Maher defends Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from left-wing attacks. Maher says he should run for president right now. pic.twitter.com/H1HD2cS82X
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 14, 2022