Most Read

Top stories

Ron DeSantis Doubles Down On Homophobic Anti-Trump Ad

Governor Ron DeSantis called going after Donald Trump over his LGBTQ+ stance 'fair game' after his homophobic ad sparked backlash even among conservatives.

Donald Trump; Ron DeSantis
Sean Rayford/Getty Images, Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis supported an anti-LGBTQ+ video his presidential campaign team shared that took aim at former Republican President Donald Trump's past stance favoring gay and transgender people.

But the clip has drawn major criticism from some conservatives–with one group claiming it “ventured into homophobic territory.”

The “DeSantis War Room” Twitter account posted the video on Friday–the last day of the Pride month of June–with a caption saying:

“To wrap up ‘Pride Month,’ let’s hear from the politician who did more than any other Republican to celebrate it.”

The montage clip showed highlights of Trump expressing past support for the LGBTQ+ community–including his declaring that he would “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens” at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

It also included Trump stating he would be "OK" with trans women competing one day in the Miss Universe Pageant.

The tone of the video then changed with darker music and featured DeSantis's recent efforts targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

Images of shirtless, muscular men–including Hollywood actor Christin Bale seen from American Psycho, in which he played a serial killer, and Brad Pitt from Troy–were spliced together with headlines of DeSantis signing “the most extreme slate of anti-trans laws in modern history” and a “draconian anti-trans bathroom bill.”

You can see the video here.

After the "DeSantis War Room" team posted the clip, The Log Cabin Republicans–a group dedicated to promoting LGBTQ+ conservatives–lashed out on Twitter and called the video "divisive and desperate."

The group added:

"Republicans and other commonsense conservatives know Ron Desantis has alienated swing-state and younger voters."

They also said that DeSantis's “extreme rhetoric has just ventured into homophobic territory."

Republican Richard Grenell, a former National Intelligence Director for Trump who was the first openly gay Cabinet member in any administration–called the video “undeniably homophobic.”

Openly gay Democratic U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also weighed in with his thoughts on DeSantis's campaign video and said during a CNN interview:

“I’m going to leave aside the strangeness of trying to prove your manhood by putting up a video that splices images of you in between oiled-up shirtless bodybuilders, and just get to a bigger issue that is on my mind whenever I see this stuff in the policy space, which is, again, who are you trying to help?"
"Who are you trying to make better off?”

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump's campaign, invoked a nickname Trump used for DeSantis and said of the Florida Governor:

“A desperate DeSanctus campaign, with a flailing candidate, in its last throes of relevancy.”

Twitter also had some thoughts about the video.

On Friday, Christina Pushaw–the campaign’s rapid response director–explained in a tweet:

“Opposing the federal recognition of ‘Pride Month’ isn’t ‘homophobic.’"
"We wouldn’t support a month to celebrate straight people for sexual orientation, either."
"It’s unnecessary, divisive, pandering."

DeSantis's anti-LGBTQ+ campaign video came as conservatives have increasingly pushed to limit the rights and celebrations of gay and trans people with a slew of anti-drag bills.

The video also followed rightwingers lambasting major companies like Cracker Barrel and Target for showing support for Pride month by displaying rainbow Pride flags at respective establishments and selling related merchandise.

DeSantis did not respond to accusations of homophobia, but he defended the video in an interview with conservative political commenter Tomi Lahren.

He described the intent of the video as:

“identifying Donald Trump as really being a pioneer in injecting gender ideology into the mainstream where he was having men compete against women in his beauty pageants.”
“I think that’s totally fair game because he’s now campaigning, saying the opposite, that he doesn’t think that you should have men competing in women’s things like athletics,

In March 2023, DeSantis was praised by conservatives for signing into law Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" bill–colloquially known as the "Don't Say Gay Bill"–which forbids public school teachers in the state from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity.

He is reportedly trailing behind Trump by a wide margin for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.