The New York Times, just a few days before Florida’s gubernatorial election, dug deep into incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ background for some titillating hearsay from people who knew him when he was a schoolteacher at a private school.
“At a private school 20 years ago, the future Florida governor was a popular history teacher and coach,” reads the report. “But some students were taken aback by his comments on the Civil War and abortion.”
Yikes! You hear that? Some students were… taken aback.
In more than 1,500 words, NYT crack scribes Frances Robles and Patricia Mazzei plow deep into the unsettling and hitherto unknown history of the popular Florida Republican’s tenure at Darlington School.
Some key quotes from the story:
- “As a teacher, he was remembered by some former students as cocky and arrogant.”
- “He once publicly embarrassed a student with a prank, hung out at parties with seniors and got into debates about the Civil War…”
But here’s a real explosive scoop: DeSantis, the story reveals, was a racist:
“Mr. Ron, Mr. DeSantis, was mean to me and hostile toward me,” said Ms. Pompey, who graduated in 2003. “Not aggressively, but passively, because I was Black.”
That’s it. That’s the story. “Area women says 20 years ago with no evidence that DeSantis was passively hostile toward her because she’s black and she’s waited until a few days before his re-election to talk about it.”
Pompey elaborates that part of the hostile passive racism she experienced involved DeSantis “playing Devil’s Advocate” during class room debates over the Civil War.
“He was trying to say, ‘It’s not OK to own people, but they had property, businesses,'” Pompey told NYT.
And, of course, the story has to slip in a mention of abortion. According to this in-depth reporting, some students didn’t like DeSantis’ view on abortion.
But I’ve saved the best for last:
“Two other students remembered a prank involving Mr. DeSantis and a student who had bragged about how much milk he could drink.
“They said Mr. DeSantis challenged the boy to guzzle as much milk as he could in one sitting. The boy did, and threw up as dozens of students watched.”
With all due respect to the amazing journalists at the NYT, I would categorize this as a “double dog dare” rather than a prank.
Still, it’s shocking stuff. I’m not sure how DeSantis will recover from this one. It’s almost as terrifying as the Washington Post’s discovery that Mitt Romney once cut another student’s hair or the Boston Globe’s unsettling report that Jeb Bush smoked pot in high school and once sowed up a classmates pajamas.