Following an automobile-related accident at a Florida LGBT parade this weekend, left-wing activists and reporters were quick to lay the blame at the feet of Gov. Ron DeSantis, referring to the incident as an act of “terrorism” against LGBT Americans before facts about the case were released to the public.
The episode occurred Saturday, when a 77-year-old man driving a white Dodge truck unexpectedly struck several pedestrians in the lead-up to the Stonewall Pride Parade in Wilton Manors, Florida. One individual was killed in the incident, while another was seriously injured.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis issued a statement from the scene of the crash, prematurely claiming the incident was a “terrorist attack” against LGBT Floridians.
“This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community,” he said. “This is exactly what it is. Hardly an accident. It was deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person. Luckily they missed that person, but unfortunately, they hit two other people.”
Following an investigation by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD), however, police later confirmed that the driver — who was a participant in the parade — had accelerated accidentally. According to CBS Miami, “Police said the driver had ailments preventing him from walking the duration of the parade, which is why he was selected to be the lead vehicle.” Officers also conducted a DUI field test, which showed no signs of impairment.
Trantalis is hardly the only Democrat to pre-emptively politicize the incident. Multiple high-profile Democrat activists and media figures wasted no time in attempting to blame the tragedy on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, citing the governor’s recently signed anti-riot legislation as the root cause.
“Wilton Manors is what happens when you pass a bill that encourages people to run over protestors with their car,” tweeted Democrat activist Chris Hahn. “Ron DeSantis and the rest of the Florida GOP have blood on their hands. #DeathSantis.” Hahn has since deleted the tweet and issued a correction and apology.
Leftist writer Lesley Abravanel also took to Twitter, comparing the Florida governor to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and labeling the incident “Charlottesville part 2,” in an apparent reference to the racial violence that took place in the Virginia city in August 2017.
“2 hit by truck, 1 killed at #Prideparade in Wilton Manors narrowly missing @DWStweets,” she said. “Domestic terrorism made legal by bigot #KimJongRon #DeathSantis. Charlottesville part 2. #RemoveRon #Florida #Floriduh” Abravanel later acknowledged the incident wasn’t terrorism-related, while still referring to DeSantis as a “bigot.”
As we now know,last night’s tragic incident at the Wilton Manors #Pride parade wasn’t domestic terrorism. But the toxic environment created by the laws of a bigot like @GovRonDeSantis & the encouragement of Trump’s terror fueled Turd Reich regime & #GQP made it entirely plausible https://t.co/ltgMncEyB6
— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) June 20, 2021
DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw noted the media’s desire to place politics over accuracy regarding the incident.
“We as Floridians should be coming together to mourn the loss of life and pray for the recovery of those who were injured,” she told The Federalist. “But instead, a local official made premature, reckless, and inflammatory remarks that were inspired by politics, not facts. This disinformation was instantly spread in corporate media without the most basic attempts at fact-checking, because too many journalists prioritize being ‘first’ over being accurate.”
Pushaw also stated that she’s not surprised by the amplification the lie received on Twitter, arguing that “every time the hashtag ‘DeathSantis’ trends, it’s a direct result of the media lying about Governor DeSantis.”
“This shameful politicization of a tragic accident is the latest example of the media refusing to let facts get in the way of their narratives,” she said.
DeSantis was briefed on the matter Saturday night and has spoken with the local sheriff on the ground, according to Pushaw.