Florida Governor Ron DeSantis battled Left-leaning CBS News host Norah O’Donnell in an interview this week over the issue of abortion and parental rights in schools.
O’Donnell argued with the presidential candidate while questioning him about abortion as she seemingly tried to get him to say that he wants a national abortion ban.
“There is new data out that the number of abortions in Florida has actually increased — and increased since Dobbs,” she said. “For those who oppose abortion rights, is it time to enact a national ban on abortion?”
DeSantis responded, “Well, the issue with Florida is that the southeastern states have very, very strong pro-life laws. Florida is litigating under a 15-week, and so we have become, against our wishes, a destination.”
“Now, we’ve also done the Heartbeat Protection Act, which would go into effect once the courts clear this which I think would probably stop the whole abortion tourism thing,” he continued. “So we don’t want to be an abortion tourism destination.”
“Why won’t you answer that question?” O’Donnell snapped.
“What do you mean?” DeSantis asked.
“About why you would support a federal ban,” she claimed.
“I support pro-life policies. I’ll be a pro-life president,” DeSantis responded. “But at the same time, you know, I’ve got to chart the course and be honest with people about, ‘Okay, how do you advance the ball like we did in Florida?’ And the way you do that is really bottom up.”
O’Donnell then tried to accuse DeSantis of signing legislation that would jail women for having an abortion.
“Governor, I read the bill. It says just this, it does include jail time and fines for quote, ‘any person who willfully performs or actively participates in a termination of pregnancy.'”
“Right, and that’s for the providers,” DeSantis noted. “That is not for the women.”
“Is a woman not actively participating in the termination of her pregnancy?” O’Donnell asked.
“No because she’s not a medical practitioner,” DeSantis again said, noting that he is not for criminalizing women, adding, “that will not happen in Florida.”
In a portion of the interview that only appeared online, O’Donnell pressed DeSantis about a travel advisory that was put out by the NAACP earlier this summer that claimed that Florida was “openly hostile for African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals”
“As President, you would represent the entire country. Can everyone feel welcome in a DeSantis America?” she asked.
“100%,” DeSantis responded, noting that the NAACP’s advisory was nothing more than “politics.”
“That’s a stunt that they’re playing. They obviously have very Left-wing agenda, which I don’t begrudge them that,” he said. “But in Florida, our unemployment rate amongst African Americans is way lower than New York, California and these blue states. We have more black owned businesses in Florida than any state in the United States. I have more African American students on scholarships for our school choice program than any other state in the United States. And so we’ve shown people can succeed in Florida, regardless of their race, ethnicity, any of that. We will judge people as individuals, we want people to rise up based on their merit. But here’s the thing—”
O’Donnell claimed that DeSantis’ “policies in Florida” have made “minorities, black Americans, and … people who are part of the LGBTQ community” think that he will discriminate against them.
DeSantis fired back that dishonest figures in the media are the reason that people believe those claims.
“Well, part of the reason they think that is because of narratives that are put out by media,” he said. “I mean, for example, when we had the fight with Disney over the elementary education, about should you have things about sex and gender identity, telling a second grader that their gender is fluid? We said absolutely not. Parents in Florida agreed and throughout the country, I think agreed with that, that was termed by the media, as ‘don’t say gay.’ The bill did not mention the word gay, I never said that gay people wanted kindergarteners to be told they can change their gender. That was the media that created that and the Left that created that.”
“There were a lot of gay people in Florida that felt that was unfair to them, because they didn’t think it was appropriate to have that kind of—,” DeSantis continued before O’Donnell cut him off, saying, “So when is the right age to talk about gender identity?”
“Well, I think the idea that a teacher would say, ‘yes, you can change,’ and there’s some schools around the country, where they say it’s okay to transition a kid without the parent’s consent or knowledge. And as a parent, that is just unacceptable,” he said. “I mean, schools serve an important function, but to be intruding into a family matter like that, I think goes beyond what is appropriate. And here’s the thing, are we doing so well as a country on math scores, and reading scores and science? Why don’t we focus on those things, you know, that I think unites everybody, regardless of their viewpoint.”
“I think it’s also important to say, I’ve got people moving into Florida in record numbers,” he continued. “We are the number one fastest growing state, and we are the state with the most net domestic in-migration. And that’s people from all walks of life that are coming and they’re coming, because the state is successful, and they have an opportunity to get ahead.”
O’Donnell once again changed the topic.
“Most gay people say they knew they were gay since they were a kid,” she said. “They’ve known most of their life they were gay.”
DeSantis retorted, “What does that have to do with math class or English class or history class?”