Private bill signings likely show DeSantis’ media strategy

Apr 14, 2023, 1:01 PM

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a Midland County Republican Party breakfast in Midland, Mic...

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a Midland County Republican Party breakfast in Midland, Mich., on Thursday, April 6, 2023. DeSantis visited the central Michigan community for a county GOP event Thursday before heading to speak at Hillsdale College. (Kaytie Boomer/The Bay City Times via AP)

(Kaytie Boomer/The Bay City Times via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a restrictive abortion bill at an evangelical church before enthusiastic supporters in one of Florida’s largest media markets.

But that was last year, when DeSantis banned abortions after 15 weeks.

This year DeSantis signed an even more restrictive bill, banning abortion after six weeks, in the privacy of his office on Thursday just before midnight. There was no throng of supporters to celebrate, no packs of reporters throwing out scores of questions and documenting the moment and no television cameras — and Tallahassee is one of the state’s smallest media markets.

It’s at least the third major piece of conservative legislation the prospective presidential candidate has signed in private this year with no advance media notice, following bills to allow legal gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit and to expand Florida’s school voucher program.

Doing so might reflect more his attitude toward mainstream media rather than a fear of signing controversial bills in public.

Where, when and how DeSantis signs a bill makes no difference on how new laws will affect Floridians. Bill-signing ceremonies are primarily about bringing awareness to new laws and giving governors attention. And issues like guns, school vouchers and abortion are going to receive massive media attention whether there’s a ceremony or not.

His decision to sign legislation privately frustrates reporters and provides fodder for Democrats, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. DeSantis has blown up the traditional playbook on media relations to the point where he freely states he doesn’t need or care about mainstream media, which he calls corporate or legacy media.

“Legacy media, anything that I do, immediately they’re going to react against,” DeSantis said at Hillsdale College in Michigan last week. “A lot of Republicans, they get worried about being attacked by the media, they worry about getting smeared, it’s not anything good. I don’t read any of it, so I don’t really care. “

He regularly mentions that he needed a recount to win his first term and then won reelection by a larger amount than any other Florida Republican governor despite his rocky relationship with the media.

“The idea that I could go from 32,000 votes to 1.5 million votes having more negative media attacking me than any other governor, I would say, probably, in modern American history, that should show you that there are people out there — voters — they see all through the smoke and they’re just looking for some truth in a very convoluted, strange time,” DeSantis said.

The governor’s communications office didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment on the private bill signings.

National News

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

5 hours ago

FILE - President Ronald Reagan waves and then looks up before being shoved into the President's lim...

Associated Press

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and his response changed the trajectory of his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The would-be assassin got off six shots in 1.7 seconds, nearly taking the life of a president and changing the trajectory of a presidency. It happened on a dreary March afternoon in 1981. President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel after giving a speech to a union group when John […]

6 hours ago

A 150 million year old dinosaur skeleton is displayed at the Natural History Museum's new welcome c...

Associated Press

Gnatalie is the only green-boned dinosaur found on the planet. She will be on display in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest dinosaur being mounted at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles is not only a member of a new species — it’s also the only one found on the planet whose bones are green, according to museum officials. Named “Gnatalie” (pronounced Natalie) for the gnats that swarmed during the […]

7 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage by U.S. Sec...

Associated Press

What we know about the 20-year-old suspect in the apparent assassination attempt of Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The man identified as the shooter in the apparent assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump was a 20-year-old from a Pittsburg suburb not far from the campaign rally where one attendee was killed. Authorities say Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, opened fire at the rally before being killed by […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Trump is injured but ‘fine’ after apparent assassination attempt leaves rally-goer and gunman dead

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — On the heels of an apparent attempt to kill him, former President Donald Trump called Sunday for unity and resilience as shocked leaders across the political divide recoiled from the shooting that left him injured but “fine” and the gunman and a rally-goer dead. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the […]

8 hours ago

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

12 hours ago

Private bill signings likely show DeSantis’ media strategy