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Ron DeSantis says attendees at White House Correspondents Dinner are ‘reviled by so many Americans’

The Florida governor unloaded after a reporter asked about the event.

Abe Asher
Tuesday 03 May 2022 20:28 BST
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Trevor Noah mocks Ron DeSantis over 2024 bid at White House dinner

Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced that he “would never attend” and has “no interest” in the White House Correspondents Dinner after comedian Trevor Noah joked about his presence at the event last weekend.

“One of my favorites, Ron DeSantis, is here,” Mr Noah said on stage. “Oh man, I’m actually surprised that he found the time. You know he has been so busy trying to outmaneuver Trump for 2024. I see you, Ron. I see you, player.”

At a press conference on Monday, Mr DeSantis said that he was not present at the event and that Mr Noah’s falsehood demonstrates “why that cabal of people in DC, NY is so reviled by so many Americans.”

“Why they would want to perpetuate a lie about that I don’t know,” Mr DeSantis said. “But I think it just shows you why that cabal of people in DC, New York is so reviled by so many Americans. I think it’s a reputation that’s been well-deserved.”

In his three-plus years as governor, Mr DeSantis has used social issues like his state’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, bans on education about race in schools, and restricting LGBT+ rights to boost his profile and popularity with Republican voters. He is widely considered a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

But should Mr DeSantis declare his candidacy and attempt to join that “cabal of people in DC”, he may have to defeat Mr Trump. The former president has led every recent poll of the race, including head-to-head matchups against Mr DeSantis, by a large margin.

In the meantime, Mr DeSantis is running for re-election in Florida. The Jacksonville-born former congressman won the governor’s race in 2018 by the narrowest of margins, defeating Democratic rival Andrew Gillum less than one half of one percentage point.

Mr DeSantis is considered a heavy favorite to win in November — and he shows no signs of de-escalating his attacks on those who oppose his conservative social policies, including a group of middle schoolers who wore masks on stage at one of his events earlier this year.

“Here they are, saying how important they are, that they’re somehow these paragons of truth, and yet there they are lying about something that is readily varifiable,” Mr DeSantis said on Monday of the White House Correspondents Dinner. “So the idea I was there is false, the idea I would have ever gone is false.”

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