So, Ron DeSantis went on Bill Maher's show - here is what happened

(Janet Van Ham/HBO via AP)

Bill Maher calls himself a classic liberal. He invited Governor Ron DeSantis to be on his first show back from hiatus on Friday night. So, DeSantis went on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. I have some thoughts about his appearance.


I rarely watch an entire episode of Maher’s show. There usually isn’t anything of interest for me as a conservative. His non-progressive token guests, the ones who are supposed to represent Republicans and conservatives, usually are libertarians or NeverTrumpers. I am neither. His shows bore me and are a waste of time. That is how I went into watching this episode. I thought it would be a bash fest on DeSantis. It was not, I am happy to say.

I think that DeSantis held his own and did really well. I also was pleasantly surprised that Maher did a fair interview. He agrees with DeSantis about the pandemic mandates and he complimented DeSantis on how he handled the pandemic in Florida. Maher slammed Trump, as he always does, for trashing DeSantis over his leadership during the pandemic. DeSantis rightly pointed out that Florida continues to experience an increase in new residents – people aren’t fleeing Florida, as they are California and New York. Because of the successful policies of DeSantis, people are moving to Florida and leaving blue states like California and New York.

Maher teased DeSantis for wearing boots with a suit. He said there aren’t cowboys in Florida. DeSantis corrected him and informed Maher of the cattle ranches in the middle part of Florida. Maher graciously stood corrected. That was the tone – respectful conversation though they were on opposite sides of most issues. It was refreshing and I think it will do DeSantis some good.


The studio audience applauded DeSantis much more often than I expected. DeSantis was able to talk about being prepared to drain the swamp as far as some of the major agencies are concerned, like FDA, CDC, NIH, and any other agency that was involved in pandemic authoritarianism. He said if they are not held accountable, it will happen again. He’s right. You can see it starting to happen now with the latest variant of COVID-19 going around now. Mask mandates are starting to rear their ugly head and there is a big push for the new COVID-19 vaccine that is out now. It’s starting to feel like deja-vu all over again.

Look at how the progressive website, Deadline Hollywood, reported on the exchange between Maher and DeSantis on his battle with Disney in Florida.

“Why is this guy picking a fight with Mickey Mouse?” Bill Maher asked Ron DeSantis on Friday about the poll-lagging Florida governor’s ongoing jurisdictional and legal battles with Disney over the past year.

“Well, first of all, they picked a fight with us,” a literally suited and cowboy booted DeSantis replied in Real Time With Bill Maher’s return from the just-ended writers strike. “This idea of ideology-corrupting institutions, I see it in Los Angeles with the amount of crime that’s here and the homelessness,” the deflecting Sunshine State governor went on to say, bashing so-called “woke ideology” and the Center for Disease Control.

Letting DeSantis off the Mouse House hook and the company’s claim of “retaliation” over eventually opposing Florida’s “don’t say gay” parental rights law, a clearly flattered Maher told his guest “we are on the same page.” He then went on to slam the New York Times and more in what became a bromance over the pandemic, with a jab or two at DeSantis over voting rights and abortion restriction in Florida.


Too bad the progressives didn’t get their pound of flesh from DeSantis, huh? DeSantis was so affable and light-hearted, while remaining serious about discussing his decisions as governor, it was a pleasure to watch. DeSantis was a happy warrior and that is the best way to disarm a liberal.

Kudos to Team DeSantis for booking the candidate on Maher’s show.

During his time in California on Friday, DeSantis spoke to the California Republican Party’s fall convention. He contrasted what he sees as successes in Florida with the policies of Governor Gavin Newsom in California. He was one of four Republican presidential primary candidates to speak during the first day of the convention.

DeSantis began with a joke about Disney and went on to the subject of education. The crowd was receptive to his speech.

“I’m a little close to Disneyland — I didn’t know if they would let me come here,” he said, referring to the Disney-DeSantis political feud that started when he signed legislation last year that bans teachers from talking about sexual identification and gender identity in some elementary schools in Florida.

DeSantis drew the strongest applause and reactions — including from law enforcement who stood near the room’s entrances — when he touched on parental rights in education, an issue currently sensitive to many California parents as several local school districts debate policies like those that ban pride flags or would inform parents if their child may be transgender.

DeSantis said Florida parents have the right to know what is being taught to their children, attempting to draw a contrast between statewide education policies in his state and California.

“You as an adult can knock yourself out with adult material, but leave our kids alone,” DeSantis said.


The tension between Trump and DeSantis was in play at the convention.

“I’m the one who turned Florida red,” Trump said.

DeSantis responded Friday night: “I understand that one of my residents was here earlier saying that he turned Florida red. … I just wish if he had turned Florida red that he wouldn’t have turned Georgia and Arizona blue.”

And earlier Wednesday, while at a campaign event at the Los Angeles Harbor Grain Terminal in Long Beach, DeSantis called out Trump for not being at the second Republican presidential primary debate, saying he is “missing in action” and should be on the stage.

One of the biggest selling points for DeSantis is how he turned a purple swing state into a deep red state. Florida did receive the red wave everyone else was hoping for and that includes at the state level. Republicans have a super majority in the Florida Legislature now. Trump didn’t win Miami-Dade County in 2020. DeSantis won the county in 2022. That was impressive.

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