DeSantis roundtable against Venezuela turns anti-Facebook, anti-Fauci

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Fri, March 11th 2022, 12:51 PM EST)

DORAL, Fla. (WPEC) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable to rally against the U.S. buying oil from Venezuela, but election law, social media and Covid-19 got a lot of air time, as well.

In fact, the Friday afternoon roundtable in Doral, just west of Miami, ended with DeSantis talking about “a nice big red wave” in November’s midterm election.

The audience was supportive, but the politicians and others on stage were even more so.

A sign behind the panelists’ seats said “Expand American Energy: Don’t Line Maduro’s Pockets,” a reference to Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolas Maduro, and DeSantis called him a “murderous tyrant.”

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Gov. Ron DeSantis: Biden administration “thumbing their nose” at millions of Venezuelan-Americans, March 11, 2022. (Pool)

DeSantis started by criticizing the Biden administration for higher oil and gas prices, especially since the U.S. is no longer importing from Russia.

The governor supported not buying oil from Russia, to “take away his [Russian president Vladimir Putin’s] lifeblood which is his energy revenue” and called for the U.S. to be energy independent.

Now, the U.S. may be looking to buy from an oil-rich Venezuela with an unfriendly government. Biden administration officials visited in a bid to persuade them to pump more. Venezuela is still sanctioned by the U.S.

DeSantis accused the Biden administration of looking for an excuse to have relations with Venezuela, saying,

“From the day they took office, this is what they wanted to do. They wanted to prop Maduro up, they want to deal with the ayatollah in Iran.”

The Associated Press reports buying oil from Venezuela could alienate exiled Venezuelan-Americans who fled the unrest in that country, and Gov. DeSantis — up for reelection in November and a potential 2024 presidential candidate — may be trying to capitalize on that.

From there, the conversation turned to elections. DeSantis referred to Zucker-bucks in criticizing Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He spoke about how quickly Florida is able to count votes and how other states want to be like Florida during elections, yet he mentioned increasing penalties for ballot harvesting, cleaning voting rolls, and starting an election integrity unit.

Finally, the discussion turned to restaurants and DeSantis talked about how Florida kept them open, letting people decide whether they wanted to eat out.

He compared Florida to northern states that had people eating outside, on the street, and in tents in the winter. The governor called them “poorly-ventilated enclosed areas” and the whole idea “Covid theater,” a phrase he coined at the University of South Florida on March 2, when he told students behind his podium they could take off their masks.

He also criticized President Biden’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying Fauci “hated restaurants” and will never tell people to “be normal.”

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