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

Associated Press

Pat Robertson dies at 93; founded Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian Coalition

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Pat Robertson, a religious broadcaster who turned a tiny Virginia station into the global Christian Broadcasting Network, tried a run for president and helped make religion central to Republican Party politics in America through his Christian Coalition, has died. He was 93. Robertson’s death Thursday was announced by his broadcasting […]

5 hours ago

FILE - Homes burn as a wildfire rips through a development near Rock Creek Village, Dec. 30, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Authorities to reveal results of investigation into how Colorado’s worst wildfire started

DENVER (AP) — Authorities say they have wrapped up their investigation into what started the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history and will announce their findings on Thursday. The blaze destroyed nearly 1,100 homes as heavy winds pushed it across the heavily populated suburbs between Denver and Boulder on Dec. 30, 2021. Two people were […]

1 day ago

Kim Adams of the SOAR Initiative, a nonprofit that seeks to prevent drug overdoses in Ohio, packs f...

Associated Press

‘Keep them alive’: More states legalize fentanyl test strips to combat surging opioid deaths

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — At Cleveland’s Urban Kutz Barbershop, customers can flip through magazines as they wait, or help themselves to drug screening tests left out in a box on a table with a somber message: “Your drugs could contain fentanyl. Please take free test strips.” Owner Waverly Willis has given out strips for years […]

1 day ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during an event to commemorate Pride Month, in the East Room of t...

Associated Press

Biden invites thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals, singer Betty Who, to Pride Month celebration

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has invited thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals to celebrate Pride Month in a high-profile show of support at a time when the community feels under attack like never before and the White House has little recourse to beat back a flood state-level legislation against them. Biden was announcing new initiatives […]

1 day ago

FILE - Former President Donald Trump greets supporters before speaking at the Westside Conservative...

Associated Press

The Republican presidential field is largely set. Here are takeaways on where the contest stands.

NEW YORK (AP) — After a trio of new announcements this week, the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential field is all but set. A handful of stragglers may jump in later, but as of now there are at least 10 high-profile Republican candidates officially seeking their party’s nomination. And with the announcement phase of the primary […]

1 day ago

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak watches a drone demonstration as he visits the Friendship Techno...

Associated Press

Biden and Sunak to focus on Ukraine and economic security in British PM’s first White House visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rishi Sunak for wide-ranging talks on Thursday as the British leader makes his first White House visit as premier. The leaders’ Oval Office talks are expected to cover the war in Ukraine, China, economic security, international cooperation on regulating the growing field of artificial intelligence, and more. Biden and Sunak have already […]

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

Private bill signings likely show DeSantis’ media strategy