DeSantis vows to fire Chris Wray, says FBI and DOJ ‘went astray’
Newly-nominated Republican presidential nominee Ron DeSantis vowed Wednesday to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the FBI and Justice Department have “lost their bearings” and allowed themselves to be “armed” against Americans.
In his first interview since officially entering the race in 2024, DeSantis, the second-term Florida governor and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said he will shake up leadership in the DOJ amid continued bombshell reports of politicization being pushed by Congress and selected media.
“No, I would not keep Chris Wray as FBI Director. There will be a new one on day one,” DeSantis told Fox News’ Trey Gowdy on Fox News Tonight.
Wray, a Trump appointee who previously served as counsel for then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during his George Washington BridgeGate scandal, has faced widespread criticism as the office remains accused of policymaking.
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Most recently, three FBI officials testified before Congress that they suffered retaliation for questioning the January 6 narrative, while the FBI also received retaliation for its alleged threats against attendees of school board meetings and crackdowns on individuals such as lifeguards and longtime activists Republican adviser Roger Stone was criticized.
DeSantis said he will appoint an attorney general with a “strong backbone” who must be able to do his job in the face of attacks from leftist media outlets like the Washington Post and New York Times.
“You are being attacked by CNN. And you must wear that as a badge of honour. You cannot try to please polite society or you will simply be captured by the institution itself,” he added.
“And I think the DOJ and the FBI have lost track. I think they were used as a weapon against Americans who think like me and you. And I think they’re getting very partisan.”
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DeSantis suspected that the FBI and other agencies could become partisan because Republican presidents still cling to the idea that they are “independent” when in fact they are executive agencies.
“You report to the President-elect of the United States. So, as President, you have a responsibility to work to hold these agencies accountable, shut down people who aren’t doing their jobs, make sure they’re doing people’s business, and they’re abusing their authority not,” he said
Apparently referring to the Twitter Files scandal, DeSantis asserted that all Justice Department officials “voted.”[ing]“If a tech official censors information, they will be fired immediately.
DeSantis addressed Florida’s fight against the woke agenda in education and commerce, saying the proverbial “wake-mind virus is a form of cultural Marxism.”
Wokeism is “an attack on the truth,” he added.
“And because it’s a war on the truth, I think we have no choice but to fight a war on ‘Wake.'”
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A president shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth to those in power, even if it’s socially uncomfortable in some quarters, as it can be to present empirical facts against scientific evidence, argued DeSantis.
The fight against wokeism extends to retail, where mutual funds and other big financial firms are prioritizing ESG (environmental, social governance) over fiduciary priorities. The governor said a president should fight back, too.
Regarding education, DeSantis pointed out that the federal government is involved in accrediting post-secondary institutions, so it may be up to accreditors to oppose wokeism and DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) curricula.
“We will accredit you if you’re a color-blind university – if you’re not trying to divide people on the basis of race. So you have various tools at your disposal. It’s not the same as a governor. But I think.” “You can have influence in all sorts of areas,” he said.
In response to NAACP President Derrick Johnson’s announcement of a “travel advisory” for blacks planning to visit Florida, DeSantis questioned why the group isn’t focusing on real threats to minority communities, such as schools that have zero- or single-digit percentages of students are placed within the grade level or in neighborhoods prone to violent crime.
In particular, he pointed to Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city, where schools are appallingly poor and the city continues to suffer from high crime rates.
A recent FOX 45 report from Charm City found that 23 schools in Baltimore had no students with math skills, while the Old Line State itself was the second most educated state in the country.
“Florida’s crime rates are at a 50-year low,” he said. “Compare that to places like Chicago or Baltimore — I don’t hear the NAACP talking about it.”
Florida encouraged school choice, he added, claiming that Baltimore’s education system is largely driven by the will of teachers’ unions.
“In math and reading in the 3rd and 4th grades we are in second place because the parents have the choice. If you go to Baltimore or Chicago, some of these kids are more likely to be shot than actually get a quality education,” he said.
“And I can tell you, since I’ve been governor, some of the people who have contributed to our record tourism have been board members of the NAACP. How do I know? Because they post pictures from their Florida vacation on their social networks.” Media reports. So this is an attempt to create a false narrative.”
“But I think people are aware of this thing. They know what it is and they take it with a grain of salt and reject it.”