(As originally published with bells and whistles, Thu, September 22nd 2022, 12:30 PM EDT)
MIAMI (CBS12) — Gov. Ron DeSantis denounced Chinese communist influence in Florida during a Thursday afternoon news conference, and doubled-down on flying Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
“Why is that such a big deal, but it wasn’t a big deal when 50 migrants died in some shed in Texas?” he asked, referring to people who died after they were smuggled into the country in an 18-wheeler that was later abandoned.
DeSantis — who’s running for reelection and is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2024 — also denied that warning people in Massachusetts about migrants arriving would’ve lessened the controversy.
“Biden has dumped people all over the fruited plain … with zero notice,” he said.
DeSantis also talked about Martha’s Vineyard, where the two planes he had chartered took the nearly 50 people.
“They didn’t want their wealthy island to be having to be exposed to the unwashed masses. … They don’t want to pay… advertised to be sanctuary.”
The governor also mentioned Florida having operations in the Panhandle and a vendor that takes people away voluntarily due to their cost.
DeSantis had called the news conference at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami to take on another international issue: the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP.
With people from Taiwan behind him, DeSantis spoke about communism in the western hemisphere — singling out Cuba and Venezuela — and warned about the CCP trying “to expand their power … in higher education.”
The governor discussed Confucius Institutes and how he wants to stop them from getting money, rather than just force that from being disclosed.
And he cautioned about the CCP, “One of the things they like to is use technology to advance themselves and that includes trying to get personal information of Americans.”
He mentioned TikTok, owned by China, as a “national security risk.”
DeSantis announced he signed an executive order to stop technology commodities and services from foreign “countries of concern” including China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, etc.
He also called for a bill to stop China from “buying land near our military installations,” but the questions he took were about the migrant flights.
Some people in that group of about 50 — who had not even been to Florida — are suing him in federal court in Massachusetts.
They allege they were victims of a “premeditated, fraudulent and illegal scheme” that officials carried out “for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial and political interests.”
But DeSantis has said the legislature gave him $12 million to move migrants and he’s going to “spend every penny” of it.
On Tuesday, DeSantis said he “can’t confirm” he was behind a rumored planeload of migrants headed from San Antonio to southern Delaware.
The plane actually landed in northern New Jersey without any migrants, and a source told NBC News “the media, the Democrats, everyone got punked instead of waiting for confirmation from the governor’s office. The entire point of this is to put a spotlight on the border. It’s what the governor has said.”