Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Sparks Controversy with Comments on Handling of Classified Documents by Politicians

On June 12, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a series of comments during a Republican Party convention in Greensboro, North Carolina, that have sparked controversy and discussion.[0] DeSantis, who announced his candidacy for the presidency last month, made comments about the handling of classified documents by politicians, referencing both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Donald Trump.[1]

DeSantis began by stating that, as a naval officer, he would have been court-martialed if he had taken classified documents to his apartment.[2] He then asked if there was a different standard for a Democrat Secretary of State versus a former Republican President, suggesting that there needs to be one standard of justice in the country.[3]

He continued by denouncing what he saw as double standards in the issuance of charges and called for a single standard of justice in the country.[4] “You can’t have one faction of society weaponizing the power of the state against factions that it doesn’t like,” he said, adding that this is what has been happening.

DeSantis also promised to fire FBI chief Christopher Wray as one of his first acts as President if elected, while suggesting that if Trump had been charged with crimes, then Hillary Clinton should have also faced charges.[4] He warned attendees that Washington was full of bureaucrats who had little accountability and were abusing their power.[0]

The comments by DeSantis have been met with criticism by some, who argue that he is ignoring the fact that Clinton was investigated extensively by the FBI and the State Department, and that no charges were recommended. They also point out that Trump is currently under federal indictment related to his handling of classified documents, and charged in New York with falsifying business records to conceal extramarital affairs in the months before the 2016 election.[5] He also faces additional charges at both the state and federal levels related to investigations into his conduct during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the 2020 election in Georgia.[5]

DeSantis has also faced criticism for his comments about the need for a single standard of justice in the country, as some argue that he has spent much of the past year flouting that injunction himself.[4] They argue that if he really believes it is a problem to “have one faction of society weaponizing the power of the state against factions that it doesn’t like,” he should model good behavior himself and speak out when his co-partisans, not just his opponents, are in the wrong.

Despite the controversy, DeSantis has maintained his stance and continues to campaign for the presidency. He has also vowed to break up certain agencies in Washington that he sees as problematic components of the DOJ and ship them to other parts of the country. It remains to be seen how his comments and actions will play out in the coming months and years.

0. “DeSantis will FIRE FBI chief Christoper Wray if elected President slams DoJ for indicting Trump” msnNOW, 10 Jun. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/politics/desantis-will-fire-fbi-chief-christoper-wray-if-elected-president-slams-doj-for-indicting-trump/ar-AA1cmI5e

1. “DeSantis Hypocritically Complains About the Weaponization of State Power” Reason, 12 Jun. 2023, https://reason.com/2023/06/12/desantis-complains-about-the-weaponization-of-state-power-he-should-reexamine-his-own-record/

2. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis indirectly condemns Trump indictment on campaign trail” CBS News, 11 Jun. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ron-desantis-donald-trump-indictment-classifed-documents/

3. “Ron DeSantis: ‘I would’ve been court-martialed for taking classified documents'” The Telegraph, 10 Jun. 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/06/10/trump-indictment-ron-desantis-classified-documents/

4. “DeSantis will FIRE FBI chief Christoper Wray if elected President slams DoJ for indicting Trump” Daily Mail, 10 Jun. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12180103/DeSantis-FIRE-FBI-chief-Christoper-Wray-elected-president-slams-DoJ-indicting-Trump.html

5. “‘We are going to end weaponization’: DeSantis doubles down on mistrust of justice system” Yahoo News, 12 Jun. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/going-end-weaponization-desantis-doubles-213347420.html

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