U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis for his “silence” on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“Ron DeSantis still hasn’t condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection,” Crist said in a tweet in late June.
Although Florida is the state with the largest number of people arrested in connection with the attack, DeSantis has referenced the Jan. 6 riots sparingly. That reticence led his Democratic opponents for re-election to suggest he endorsed the attack.
“Just your weekly reminder that Ron DeSantis still hasn’t condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection OR denounced the election Big Lie,” Crist tweeted on June 29. “Is it just me, or do you agree that his silence = endorsement?”
Crist has repeated such rhetoric at least seven times on Twitter.
With the House Select Committee hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot underway, we wanted to look at DeSantis’ comments about the incident.
DeSantis has condemned the Jan. 6 attack
Immediately after the attack, lawmakers — both Republicans and Democrats — publicly criticized the people who incited the violence.
DeSantis issued a statement on Jan. 6, 2021, condemning the Capitol riot: “Violence or rioting of any kind is unacceptable, and the perpetrators must face the full weight of the law.”
He reiterated the message during a coronavirus briefing the next day.
“It was totally unacceptable and those folks need to be held accountable,” DeSantis said. “It doesn’t matter what banner you’re flying under — the violence is wrong, the rioting and disorder is wrong.”
PolitiFact found no other direct condemnation of the riot by DeSantis in Google search results or the Nexis news database.
When we asked Crist’s campaign about his claim, press secretary Sam Ramirez said DeSantis has remarked on the violence at the Capitol, “but not the insurrection itself.”
“The governor refuses to acknowledge it even was an insurrection,” Ramirez said.
Although DeSantis denounced the violence and disorder on Jan. 6, 2021, he hasn’t called it an insurrection and has decried the media’s coverage.
On the anniversary of the Capitol riot, DeSantis likened Jan. 6 to “Christmas” for “D.C.-New York media,” saying the incident lets news outlets create “narratives that are negative” about former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
“They are going to take this and milk this for anything they could to try to be able to smear anyone who ever supported Donald Trump,” DeSantis said at a news conference.
“When they try to act like this is something akin to the Sept. 11 attacks, that is an insult to the people who were going into those buildings,” DeSantis said. “And it’s an insult to people when you say it’s an ‘insurrection’ and then, a year later, nobody has been charged with that.”
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Still, DeSantis maintained that holding Jan. 6 participants accountable for their actions was appropriate: “Look, if you obstruct a proceeding, you’ve got to hold people accountable, hold rioting accountable.”
However, referring to House Select Committee hearings, DeSantis said Democrats were “beating a dead horse” and trying to “divert attention” from inflation.
“Gov. DeSantis stands for law and order,” Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary, told PolitiFact. “He has always condemned all rioting and unlawful behavior, regardless of any political affiliations.”
Crist said DeSantis “hasn’t condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection.”
That’s wrong. He has condemned the riot on at least two occasions.
After the attack, DeSantis called the violence “unacceptable,” adding that the rioters should “face the full weight of the law.” During a coronavirus briefing the following day, he reiterated that, regardless of “what banner you’re flying under,” rioting is wrong.
More recently, DeSantis has been careful not to characterize the incident as an insurrection. On the riot’s anniversary, DeSantis said labeling the incident an insurrection and likening it to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is “an insult.” In the same remarks, however, he said rioting needed to be held accountable.
We rate Crist’s claim False.
BY YACOB REYES