GOP Presidential Candidate Ron DeSantis Slammed Over 'Promise' to 'Slit Throats' of Federal Bureaucrats
GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has been facing substantial criticism and scrutiny for his controversial promise to 'slit the throats' of federal bureaucrats. The use of such extreme language has ignited a fiery debate about the role of rhetoric in politics and its potential consequences.
In August, DeSantis made headlines with his pledge to 'start slitting throats on Day 1' of the so-called 'deep state,' as per The Hill. When questioned by MSNBC's Willie Geist about if he had any regret regarding his choice of words, DeSantis defended himself, stating that it was 'colorful' language meant to convey a need for accountability rather than violence. Despite his clarification, DeSantis' choice of words sparked outrage and concern, especially in the context of increasing threats against lawmakers and officials.
Critics from various quarters, including leaders of federal employee unions and political commentators, were quick to condemn DeSantis' comments. Tony Reardon, the President of the National Treasury Employees Union, described DeSantis's remark as 'repulsive and unworthy of the presidential campaign trail.' Everett Kelley, the President of the American Federation of Government Employees, went further, labeling it as 'dangerous, disgusting, disgraceful, and disqualifying.' Prominent commentators such as Max Boot and Bill Kristol criticized DeSantis, with Kristol suggesting that he was competing in the 'maniacal psychopath lane' in the Republican primary, per The Guardian.
Back in August Gov. Desantis vowed to "slit the throats of federal bureaucrats."— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) November 2, 2023
When asked if he had any regret about using that kind of rhetoric— The 2024 Republican presidential candidate defended his words as "colorful," saying "people knew it was figure of speech." pic.twitter.com/PxsEH27va9
DeSantis' controversial rhetoric comes at a pivotal moment in his presidential campaign. While he has consistently advocated for downsizing the federal government, his choice of language has overshadowed his policy goals. MSNBC's Geist, for instance, argued that the issue was not about what he was advocating for but the inflammatory rhetoric he employed. DeSantis, currently trailing behind Donald Trump in polls, still faces an uphill battle to secure the Republican nomination, especially in light of his polarizing comments.
DeSantis's reference to the 'deep state' is a recurrent theme in far-right campaigns, where it is believed to be an embedded government structure aimed at thwarting conservative agendas. Even Trump is reportedly considering a significant administrative shake-up if he returns to power. DeSantis has, on multiple occasions, alluded to 'slitting throats' in the bureaucracy, further stoking the conspiracy theory.
It doesn't get any more obvious than this that Ron DeSantis is part of the deep state. https://t.co/0nDF0OBTvK— Yoshi The Patriot (@yoshithepatriot) November 3, 2023
Federal employees have been at the center of this controversy, as they are the potential targets of DeSantis' rhetoric. Many have called for respect and commendation for the dedicated public servants who support various essential functions of the government. AFGE's Kelley and Democratic senator Mark Warner have linked DeSantis' violent imagery to the potential for real and dangerous consequences, citing past instances of violence driven by anti-government rhetoric.
DeSantis' promise to hold the federal bureaucracy accountable and streamline the government is a legitimate concern for many voters. However, the use of extreme and violent language has raised doubts about his ability to create a more civil political climate. While DeSantis has stood by his choice of words, he faces a tough battle in both the Republican primary and, potentially, in the broader presidential race.
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