Reality Check: Did Ron DeSantis ‘Dodge’ LGBTQ-Related Question About His Young Children?

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

While the mainstream media stays in fake news mode when it comes to Republican political figures, that mode kicks into overdrive when election campaign seasons roll around, which is what we've seen happen with a number of GOP presidential candidates including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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The latest instance revolves around a recent interview DeSantis did with TIME Magazine during a campaign swing through Iowa.  Their reporter asked DeSantis a variety of questions revolving around parental rights, his anti-woke education agenda, his role as a father and husband, and the message his presidential campaign is trying to deliver to voters.

At one point the discussion turned to the issue of so-called gender affirmation care for minors, a practice that includes puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and/or surgery that as of May is banned in Florida pending the outcome of an ongoing lawsuit.  

DeSantis was asked what his thoughts were on the parents who believed such options were necessary for their children. After he answered the question by noting that the state did indeed have an interest in protecting children from these hard-to-reverse procedures, he was then asked about his three young children and what he would do if any of them came out as gay or trans later on.

Here's how the conversation went down:

I ask DeSantis about the rights of parents of trans children, who are being prevented by the state from accessing the medical care they may believe is in their kids’ best interest. He points to the ongoing debate over transgender treatment in Europe, where some experts have recently been moving away from a purely affirmative approach, arguing that the state has an interest in preventing “sterilizing children at age 13 or 14” or performing sex-change surgery on minors.

“As a parent right now, I can’t take my six-year-old daughter and get her a tattoo, even if I want to do that,” he says. “You don’t have the right to do things that are going to be destructive to kids. I think that some of these parents are being told by physicians who are making a lot of money off this that you have to do this, otherwise your kid can end up doing something like commit suicide. I think that they get bullied into thinking this is the right decision.” It is, he adds, “totally appropriate for us to say that protection of children means that those things are not appropriate.”

[...]

And when I ask how he’ll respond if one of his children turns out to be gay or trans, his eyes flash momentarily, and he swiftly shuts down the question. “Well, my children are my children,” DeSantis says. “We'll leave that—we’ll leave that between my wife and I.”

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In my opinion, it was the right answer to the question. But if you read sites like Florida Politics, which is an anti-DeSantis "news" site, you get hot takes like this one:

From the story:

Those following the 2024 campaign know that the Governor’s three children, Madison, Mason and Mamie, have been central not just to campaign speeches but to the actual events themselves. Along with First Lady Casey DeSantis, they have shown up at many events.

While DeSantis was willing to discuss many issues regarding his family with reporter Molly Ball, others were off the table, including how Mr. and Mrs. DeSantis would handle finding out if one of their children was gay or transgender.

“Well, my children are my children,” DeSantis told TIME. “We’ll leave that — we’ll leave that between my wife and I.”

Look, talking about your kids in a general sense and how you and your spouse juggle parenting while on the campaign trail, which is what DeSantis did in this interview, is one thing. Going into hypotheticals about sensitive subject matters like their children's future sexuality etc. is quite frankly offensive and creepy in my opinion. DeSantis handled the question like any parent should, noting that when and if the time came to address such matters that it would be a family matter, not a public matter.  That's not a dodge.

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The point behind DeSantis' critics, like the above outlet, trying to ding DeSantis on his answer is to show he's some type of hypocrite because in their view this issue should from start to finish be a private parent/child thing, not something in which the state gets involved in at all at any level.

The problem here, as DeSantis pointed out in his earlier answer, is that there is a middle ground area where the state sometimes should play a role, and that's when it concerns certain actions and procedures, including medical ones, that could potentially be harmful and/or dangerous to minor children.  

For instance, in some cities and states, there are laws against allowing children (and animals) in the truck beds of pickup trucks. There are laws on the books limiting what rides children can get on at theme parks because they can be dangerous for some children if they are not at a certain height. As DeSantis observed, there are also laws in some places barring young people from tanning booths, getting tattoos, and/or certain piercings even if that's what the parents want.

The ironic thing here is that despite the public display DeSantis' critics on the left put on about how gender-affirming care should be between the parent and their child, they have absolutely no issue whatsoever with laws on the books that give minors the "right" to obtain an abortion or trans care without having to involve their parents. They also have no issue whatsoever with schools trying to do end-runs around getting parental permission to indoctrinate children on controversial subject matters that absolutely should involve parents.

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So no, this isn't about anti-DeSantis types in the media and on the left suddenly being proponents of parental rights. This is about needlessly dunking on DeSantis all for the crime of giving an answer that most parents would and should give if such a question was ever asked of them.

Related -->> WATCH: Kamala Harris Rolls Into Jacksonville for Anti-DeSantis Speech, Audience Didn’t Seem Too Impressed

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