Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) significantly downplayed the events that took place on January 6, 2021, when a group of Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

While speaking on a podcast interview with Russell Brand, the Republican presidential candidate said that what happened on January 6 was not an “insurrection,” but rather a “protest” that “ended up devolving, you know, in a way that was unfortunate, of course.”

“If somebody was honestly doing an insurrection against the U.S. government, then prove that that’s the case and I’ll be happy to accept it,” DeSantis continued. “But all you’re showing me is that there were a lot of protesters there… but to say that they were sedition-ists is just wrong.”

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DeSantis’ views on the insurrection are congruent with the Republican narrative that the MAGA protesters were well-intentioned and acting on their Constitutional right to freedom of speech. Trump has even praised the rioters as “patriots.”

DeSantis is currently trailing behind Trump in the 2024 presidential election by more than 20 points. His strong conservative stances have not resonated with the majority of Americans, and even many in his own party are skeptical of his positions on many issues.

Even former Vice President Mike Pence has denounced the insurrection on multiple occasions. Pence was amongst the group of lawmakers who were forced to flee the Capitol on January 6.

The Florida governor has repeatedly sidestepped questions about Trump’s significant lead in the election.

“This is a campaign that’s still very early on, DeSantis said. “Most people are not paying attention over the summer.”

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