The second Republican presidential primary debate was mostly a disaster for Fox News. The moderators were absolutely terrible, and Nikki Haley and Tim Scott slap-fighting all night was about as exciting as watching paint dry.
One of the biggest problems was the fact that the RNC made a late decision to include left-wing Univision hack Ilia Calderón as a moderator. Her questions were objectively insane. It was like she was auditioning for an MSNBC primetime show. In fact, she spent most of her time fluffing the Mexican government and attempting to frame Republicans as racist for wanting to solve the border crisis.
Sure enough, right on cue, she kept playing identity politics by repeating the Kamala Harris-led hoax that Florida’s black history curriculum promotes slavery as having been a net benefit for those enslaved. As RedState has reported, that’s simply false, and the line in question was actually meant to convey the perseverance of black Americans.
Luckily, DeSantis came prepared, and he absolutely destroyed Calderón.
Ron DeSantis claps back at a moderator who says people are "still hurt" by Florida's curriculum on black history:
"That's a HOAX that was perpetrated by Kamala Harris!" pic.twitter.com/eX6nC0PBtd
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 28, 2023
CALDERON: “Slaves developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit.” You have said, “Slaves developed skills in spite of slavery, not because of it,” but many are still hurt. For the sentence of slaves, this is personal. What is your message to them?
DESANTIS: So first of all, that’s a hoax that was perpetuated by Kamala Harris.
SCOTT: Just take the line out. Just take the line out.
DESANTIS: Second of all, that was written by descendants of slaves. These are great black history scholars so we need to stop playing these games. Here’s the deal. Our country’s education system is in decline because it’s focused on indoctrination, denying parents’ rights. Florida represents the revival of American education. We’re ranked #1 in the nation in education by US News and World Report. My wife and I have a six, three, and five-year-old.
This is personal for us. We didn’t just talk about universal school choice. We enacted universal school choice. We didn’t just talk about the Parents’ Bill of Rights. We enacted the Parents’ Bill of Rights. We eliminated Critical Race Theory, and now we have American civics and the constitution in our schools in a really big way just like President Reagan asked for in his farewell address back in 1989. Florida is showing how it’s done. We’re standing with parents, and our kids are benefiting.
I have no idea what Tim Scott was trying to do by joining forces with Calderón’s ridiculous and false framing, but it certainly didn’t help perceptions about how he did at the debate. Regardless, DeSantis turned things around with precision. He not only knocked down the hoax, but he was able to cite who actually wrote the standard, defusing the racism argument, before listing all of Florida’s educational accomplishments.
Honestly, I may go deeper into Calderón’s performance in another article because it was laughable. I have no idea what Fox News was thinking, and the other moderators were almost as bad.