DeSantis Responds to Trump’s Social Media ‘Grooming’ Post

By Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Savannah Pointer is a politics reporter for The Epoch Times. She can be reached at savannah.pointer@epochtimes.us
February 8, 2023Updated: February 9, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to questions from reporters about a recent negative social media post about him from former President Donald Trump.

A TruthSocial entry from Trump on Feb. 7 included a somewhat blurry old photo that the original poster claimed showed DeSantis allegedly having drinks with underage girls. The photo was re-shared on Trump’s profile along with the caption “That’s not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!”

The original poster added an explanation following the first re-post by Trump, saying that “Ron DeSantis was having a ‘drink’ party with his students when he was a high school teacher,” along with several negative comments about the Florida governor. Trump’s “re-truthed” photo had verbiage claiming that DeSantis was “grooming” high school girls.

DeSantis responded to the accusation on Feb. 8 when a journalist asked how DeSantis’s proposed changes to defamation laws might address the posts.

The governor started his comments by saying he understands “you guys want the controversy,” but that defamation is different for him because he has such a large platform and can “fight back.”

“I [have] faced defamatory stuff every single day I’ve been governor. That’s just the nature of it. But I have a platform to fight back. A lot of these other people that are more little, they don’t necessarily have a platform … And so in terms of our reforms, I really wanna empower them more so than people that occupy high positions like me.”

The Republican, fast rising in the party, also asserted he “would not take time out of being governor to be fighting lawsuits” before seeming to nod toward Trump, saying: “I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden. That’s how I spend my time. I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans.”

The journalist who questioned the governor was referencing a panel that DeSantis hosted on Feb. 7 discussing large media companies’ potentially libelous speech, as The Epoch Times previously reported.

The panel deliberated over the 1964 Supreme Court decision on New York Times v. Sullivan, where the court laid down a standard that made it difficult for public figures claiming a media outlet lied about them to prevail in libel lawsuits.

DeSantis didn’t announce any libel-law reforms but hinted some might be upcoming. “We’ll be having more to say about a whole bunch of different issues over the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned.”