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Video: Ron DeSantis Schools Bill Maher on Election Denialism, Earns Big Plaudits for COVID Leadership

Video: Ron DeSantis Schools Bill Maher on Election Denialism, Earns Big Plaudits for COVID Leadership

“And I think it’s unfair what they did to you because you did handle it better. You did handle it better. You were right. You were like, let’s target the people, protect the people who are most vulnerable, and everybody else can go on with their lives a little better. You opened schools sooner.”

Two days after the second GOP presidential debate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis headed to the lion’s den in the form of Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show where his campaign and vision for America were discussed, and where some acknowledgments were made by Maher—and the left-leaning audience—on DeSantis’ handling of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic in his state.

Not surprisingly, the two had some disagreements as well, with Maher telling DeSantis he felt that his campaigning for alleged “election deniers” like Kari Lake in 2022 was something he could “not forgive.”

DeSantis’ response was to turn the tables on Maher by reminding him of how Democrats including some of Maher’s pals in Hollywood tried to deny Donald Trump his election victory in 2016:

Maher pressed DeSantis on why he campaigned for Republicans who denied that Trump lost the election, to which DeSantis responded: “Because I wanted to see Republicans win key races.”

“That’s not a deal breaker issue for you?” Maher asked. “That’s not democracy?”

“Okay, well, let’s go back to 2016,” DeSantis responded. “Your friends in Hollywood were cutting ads telling the Electoral College to vote against Trump in the Electoral College because it was stolen. They said Russia stole the election; for years they said that, so don’t act like this is like a unique thing in modern history of the country.”


DeSantis also explained to Maher why it was important to only allow legal citizens of this country to vote after Maher said it looked like DeSantis wanted to “stop” people who vote more for Democrats than Republicans from voting:

DeSantis cut in to counter that the amendment Florida passed to restore voting rights to felons “did not include murderers and sex offenders. So, we had sex offenders, convicted sex offenders who voted who were not eligible under that amendment, so we held them accountable.”

Maher then said, “But there really isn’t in-person voter fraud. Like 11 million people voted in Florida and I think you found 41 people.”

DeSantis responded, “Right, but if you have somebody that’s illegally in the country and they vote, should they be held accountable or not? I think they should be held accountable.”

After Maher responded that the amount of illegal voting is a small fraction of a percent, DeSantis countered that this may be true on a statewide level, but local elections are a lot smaller and have closer margins, and “I think we want legal people to vote, if you’re not a citizen of this country, you should not be voting in American elections.”

DeSantis also pointed to the gains he made among Hispanic and female voters in 2022 as an example of the progress the GOP was making in winning over minority voters.


The highlight of the interview, in my opinion, came during their discussion of the COVID-19 outbreak and how there should be accountability for the federal government’s handling of it, with DeSantis noting that his political opposition (Trump and Joe Biden) have in so many words said that if we had another pandemic that essentially they’d handle it the same way it was handled in 2020 and 2021. DeSantis told Maher it was critical the same mistakes were not repeated in a future pandemic and that if elected president he would work to ensure they weren’t.

Not only did Maher acknowledge that DeSantis was right in how he managed the pandemic in Florida, but the audience also agreed:

“We’re on the same page there. And I think it’s unfair what they did to you because you did handle it better,” Maher continued. “You did handle it better. You were right. You were like, let’s target the people, protect the people who are most vulnerable, and everybody else can go on with their lives a little better. You opened schools sooner. And a lot of the stuff that’s come in, the information we have after now we’ve had a few years to look at it, you were more right, and they won’t give you credit with it.”

Maher then specifically highlighted The New York Times’ coverage. “I saw The New York Times with such a despicable hit piece on you … I forget what the lead headline was, but it was basically Ron DeSantis f***ed up the pandemic,” he said. “And then like, at the very end, it says Florida’s death rate, overall, is better than the national average. And if you’re going to do an article about Florida and the pandemic, shouldn’t that be the lead? Shouldn’t that be the headline — I mean, talk about burying the lead.”


Naturally, about the best criticism Trump’s campaign and online influencers could come up with in response to DeSantis doing well in the interview with Maher was pointing to how Maher at one point said that if DeSantis was winning right now he wouldn’t be on Maher’s show, which in my view is a ridiculous criticism because it’s important for conservatives to be able to confidently go into “enemy territory” (so to speak) to try and advance the conservative message by explaining it in a common-sense way that most voters understand.

And perhaps in the process, maybe you can win over converts as you counter media-driven myths about who you are and what you stand for. That’s a win/win in my book.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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I’m sorry, but appearances like this, at this time, are just STUPID.

Maher is a leftist hack. His audience is exclusively leftists.

DeSantis is losing badly in the REPUBLICAN primary.

And he thinks the way to turn that around was to go on Maher’s show?

Heck even Maher made fun of him, openly saying ‘Let’s Face It Ron, If This Campaign Was Going Well, You Wouldn’t Be on This Show’

He’s not going to get a single vote in the primary because of this appearance.

Trump is over 50%. The only way DeSantis can possibly win is by convincing current Trump voters to switch to him. Not only will this appearance not do that, but the clip of him agreeing with Maher that Trump lost, is going to solidify their support behind Trump.

Even IF you believe that Trump lost fairly, the simple fact is that the bulk of his supporters don’t believe that. You MUST convince a large number of his supporters to switch in order to win. Ergo, publicly saying things that piss them off is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.

I used to think DeSantis was a shoe-in for 2028, but his campaign has been so horrible that I don’t think he’s even in the running for 2028 anymore. He seems to be listening to DC ‘consultants’ that haven’t won an election in decades.

    gonzotx in reply to Olinser. | October 1, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    He called President Trump supporters empty vessels

    Kind of like Hillary and her Deplorable’s

    2 peas in a pod

    No matter what, we are not voting for this cracked vessel

    henrybowman in reply to Olinser. | October 1, 2023 at 8:40 pm

    “Trump is over 50%. The only way DeSantis can possibly win is by convincing current Trump voters to switch to him.”
    Or by waiting until the “Justice System” does the job for him.

What Trump and his magas have tried to do to DeSantis is so un-American that it hurts. Instead of addressing head-on what they thought was wrong, they resorted to lies and innuendos. Trump has some major personality flaws that will never change. He is a mixed bag of good and evil.

    gonzotx in reply to inspectorudy. | October 1, 2023 at 7:53 pm


    Evil? Care to expound?

    Trump supporters act a lot like the far-left. They try to destroy people who could easily be their allies.

    Oh look, it’s “Inspector” rudy, an original neverTrumper, that lied a few years ago and claimed he was never a neverTrumper, that he originally supported Trump, trying to pretend he was now opposed to Trump after being a supporter. He went away after I linked multiple website comments showing his absolute neverTrump status. You’ll notice he turned up like a bad penny once Trump made it clear he was running for election again.

    He’s a failure, just like everyone else shilling for neverTrump which includes many DeSantis “fans”.

    The primary is over, it’s been over. Trump is so far ahead it’s a joke to pretend there is a race. The only way a GOP approved candidate, a Government Man like DeSantis, can become the R nominee is through republican shenanigans, which was the original plan. That plan got nuked by the millions of Trump supporters that have said not just no to the chinese owned GOP, they said hell no. If they try and pull a fast one then the R party will be destroyed. It will never recover.

    Anyone still pretending is simply opposed to helping the average American, something Trump said and proved he would do. There is Donald Trump and there are china owned GOP engineered and owned government men/women. I hope someone else as capable and independent and American minded as Trump comes along. There are some out there but few have the resources to enable them that Trump has. A man that is putting it all on the line; his business, his family, indeed his own life, and doing it for the American people. If you oppose Trump at this point when there is clearly no other choice you simply oppose America.

Oh Dear God, President Trump HIDING in a Bunker?

How delusional, first of all, he , President Trump has been on CNN, and others, he has always walked into the fire.

And little Ronnie Denial of 2020 election fraud … priceless

Nice boots their little d

Haters going to hate

Meanwhile in Iowa

“Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann gave a fired-up speech at President Trump’s event in Ottumwa, Iowa, railing against the radical left and calling for Iowans to pick a candidate who can “dump Joe Biden and the rest of these clowns.”

“WE NEED TO GET THAT FOOL OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE, NOW,” said Kaufmann, and the only man who can do this is President Trump. “

    That’s another false report from Gateway Pundit, as is usual for them. I’m from Iowa, and I personally know Jeff Kaufmann. He never said “and the only man who can do this is President Trump.” Gateway Pundit made that part up, and then put it in quotes. Shameful, and shameful for you for believing that crap.

      Barry in reply to JR. | October 2, 2023 at 6:17 pm

      “I’m from Iowa, and I personally know Jeff Kaufmann.”

      You personally know him but cannot discern that he is telling you, 100%, to support Donald Trump for president? I’m going to guess that “personally knowing” him is about the same as I know him, which doesn’t mean he knows me, or you.

My take: it was a good interview. While conservatives don’t watch Maher, they do watch clips from the show. He did himself no harm here.

My other take, Maher went easy on him because I think the marching orders were to boost him to give Trump, who is clearly winning, more competition. Maybe that’s too cynical but I don’t see any other reason for liberals to provide a platform to a Republican except to try to hurt republicans (whether by dissension, misleadingly edit clips, boosting the candidate they want to run against, etc)

If it was a general, Maher would have no issues tearing him to shreds (although one senses he is fed up with Biden even if he would never advocate for a Republican on the show)

The back and forth shots between Trump and DeSantis supporters don’t really interest me as much.

My (fairly obvious) read is it is Trump’s primary to lose, and the base will coalesce around him because of the persecution of him.

He will also likely be convicted of at least one bogus charge … and still win the primary … and setup a very unique presidential campaign in history of the US.

    TargaGTS in reply to PrincetonAl. | October 2, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Bill Maher was one of the only vocal opponents to the Covidians in Hollywood. When DeSantis and Kemp began to open up their respective states and Maher spoke favorably about those decisions, he received tremendous criticism from the usual suspects. Maher didn’t care. Maher has offered other positive comments on several issues over the last two-years including on DeSantis pushback on the insane practice of ‘transitioning’ minor children, the grooming that’s going on in public schools and he even had some positive things to say about DeSantis standing up to corporations….like Disney.

    While I don’t think Maher would go as far as eventually endorsing DeSantis. I do think if would be FAR more balanced in a General Election with DeSantis as the GOP nominee than anyone else would be in Hollywood or the traditional press.

Always a good idea to spread the message and go into nonstandard places to present policy ideas and seek converts. You can’t make converts by staying in the same old usual environments where you essentially just preach to already true believing choir.

You totally missed it.

It’s not votER fraud. It’s votING fraud. Nobody is arguing that the two time voter or ineligible voter voting is going to affect elections.

What effects elections: for starters, RDS could (should) have brought up the fact that Arizona voting stations in Republican areas were intentionally sabotaged by feeding the wrong size paper into the printers. Coincidence there, Mr. Maher?

RDS could have asked Maher if mail-in ballots were reliable and further asked if he agreed with Jimmy Carter that mail-in ballots must be eliminated in Third World countries because they are a vehicle for cheating. Why is it okay here? Is it okay to count all ballots that arrive by mail without knowing where they came from, Bill?

RDS could have asked Maher to come up with a reason why GA, PA, MI, AZ, WI and NC all stopped counting votes at the stroke of 10:00 pm like a Swiss watch on election night. Has anyone offered up a plausible explanation for this, if so I’d like to here it, Bill.

RDS could have pointed to CA in 2018 when about two dozen Republicans were ahead when the polls closed yet all lost those turnover seats after 4 weeks of “counting”. What luck those Democrats have, eh Bill?

Finally, RDS could have gone in for the win by challenging Maher to name one federal or gubernatorial election where the Democrat was ahead when the polls closed but lost to a subsequent recount. Just one.

    Barry in reply to George S. | October 2, 2023 at 6:19 pm

    There you go George, pointing out actual facts…

    henrybowman in reply to George S. | October 4, 2023 at 2:22 am

    “Arizona voting stations in Republican areas were intentionally sabotaged by feeding the wrong size paper into the printers.”
    No it was more subtle than that. The right size paper was fed in, but the printers were set to print a reduced-sized image. The scanners didn’t like that.

Just want to remind everybody who is sniping that DeSantis should drop out that Ronald Reagan ran for President in 1968, 1976, and 1980. He’s doing it right, pointing out the Dems and their failures instead of the circular firing squad we get so often from Republicans who write the Dem ads for the general election.