DeSantis' Threat to Slit Throats Draws Response

Federal workers union calls statement in New Hampshire 'disgusting, disgraceful'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2023 6:10 PM CDT
DeSantis Promises to 'Start Slitting Throats'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a campaign event, Monday, July 31, 2023, in Rochester, N.H.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

New Hampshire has brought out the tough talker in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—or maybe it's his rapid decline in the polls. Since he began campaigning there this summer, the Republican presidential candidate's rhetoric has become more violent, New Hampshire Public Radio reports. He's told voters there that Mexican drug cartels would be "shot stone cold dead" once he takes office. At a barbecue on Sunday, DeSantis told diners how he'll deal with federal employees, per the Hill. "We're going to have all of these deep state people, you know, we are going to start slitting throats on Day One," he said.

DeSantis said he'd use the same strategy when talking about keeping retired officers out of the Defense Department hierarchy last month, suggesting "they may have to slit some throats." The bloody imagery isn't a hit with everyone. "If I was in charge of his PR, I would have said, 'Don't use that terminology,'" one Republican at the barbecue tells NHPR. Social media posters didn't find the threat amusing, either. DeSantis reportedly is rebooting his struggling campaign organization, and one writer tweeted that "Re-booted DeSantis is as clueless about tone as pre-boot DeSantis was." Another poster said, "This isn't a Clint Eastwood movie," per the Wrap, and asked the FBI, "Why are presidential candidates allowed to threaten to murder people?"

Federal employees took the threat personally, per Government Executive. The president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which has endorsed President Biden, called the threat "dangerous, disgusting, disgraceful, and disqualifying." Everett Kelly added: "These public servants deserve respect and commendation from our nation's leaders. No federal employee should face death threats from anyone, least of all from someone seeking to lead the US government." He called for the candidate to retract his statement; the DeSantis campaign has not commented. Several federal agencies increased security last year and put workers on alert after a rash of threats against workers. (More Ron DeSantis 2024 stories.)

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