When last we left you with media "fact checkers," they were fact-checking the claims made by the GOP presidential candidates during the last debate. One statement they looked into was what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said about his executive order that cleared the way for rescue flights for Floridians trapped in Israel, which he signed five days after the Hamas-instigated war with Israel began.
DeSantis correctly pointed out that over 700 people had been brought back to Florida safely from the war-torn region, saying "I scrambled resources in Florida. I sent planes over to Israel, and I brought back over 700 people to safety.” But according to NBC News, what DeSantis' claimed was only "half true"... because he wasn't flying the planes himself.
Fast forward nearly a week and ABC News is now getting in on the action, except in this case, they've taken issue with something DeSantis said about their favorite "Republican" Senator, Utah's Mitt Romney.
Specifically, they took issue with DeSantis' claim during a Tuesday interview that he "doesn't know" Mitt Romney, who is retiring in 2024. In their write-up, ABC News suggested that DeSantis is being dishonest about not knowing Romney because he... once campaigned for him while at Harvard Law School in 2002:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday took aim at fellow Republican Mitt Romney, painting the outgoing senator as a member of the "surrender caucus of Republicans" who "never fought for us in the beginning."
"I don't really know Mitt Romney," DeSantis said in response to a question about a Romney-backed gathering of presidential candidates last month.
But a black-and-white photograph from DeSantis' Harvard Law School yearbook unearthed by ABC News indicates that at one point, DeSantis campaigned on Romney's behalf.
A caption on the page describes the school's "Law Republicans" group as the "voice" of the Republican Party at Harvard Law, aiming "to provide a social community of moderate and conservative Republicans." The group would "organize community blood drives and a Ronald Reagan birthday celebration," according to the text.
Seriously. This was actually published:
Well, doggone it. They've got him with this hard-hitting "investigative" journalism. I mean, I smell a Pulitzer in the air:
Media critic/columnist Joe Concha went to town on ABC News as well:
Three ABC investigative reporters were needed for this report on DeSantis "campaigning" for Romney for governor so long ago that the photo of him simply holding up a sign is in black & white.
ABC News will have you believe DeSantis & Romney bought each other friendship brackets
(probably meant bracelets there)
By the ABC News definition, every person who has ever campaigned on behalf of a candidate for public office personally "knew" the person for whom they were campaigning, including way back during their high school and college years when they were just formulating their opinions on politics and trying to figure out where they stood on the issues.
I mean by that rule, I "knew" Bill Clinton back in the early 90s when I was a young and foolish liberal. Heck, the fact that I shook Bill Clinton's hand just a few days before he was elected might even get me called a "senior advisor" by ABC News according to their standards.
But back to Romney, the ABC News spin aside, there is obviously no love lost between him and DeSantis, with Romney in a new biography inadvertently giving DeSantis exactly the type of non-endorsement "endorsement" an outside-the-beltway, non-establishment politico like DeSantis loves:
From @playbookdc, another preview of the new Mitt Romney biography, in which Romney, consumed with old resentments, appears to dump on everyone who ever ran against him. https://t.co/0eYO0y1Ekt pic.twitter.com/M7DoHf3Z3q— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 19, 2023
The DeSantis campaign responded accordingly at the time:
Mitt Romney warns that @RonDeSantis is “dangerous” and “authoritarian”, presumably because he has enacted conservative policy instead of just talking about it.
Clearly, DeSantis has come a long way since 2002. And that is most definitely a good thing for conservatives, for Florida, and maybe one day soon, America.