▶ Watch Video: DeSantis addresses NAACP criticism

Florida Gov. and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis said the NAACP is pulling a “stunt” by calling Florida hostile to Black Americans, other minorities and LGBTQ+ people. 

The NAACP has issued a warning that Florida is “openly hostile for African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals.” In an interview with DeSantis, CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell asked if he would represent the entire country, and whether everyone could feel welcome in DeSantis’ America. 

“A hundred percent,” DeSantis responded. “And that is politics. That’s a stunt that they’re playing. They obviously have (a) very left wing agenda, which I don’t begrudge them that. But in Florida, our unemployment rate amongst African Americans is way lower than New York, California and these blue states. We have more Black-owned businesses in Florida than any state in the United States.”

“I have more African American students on scholarships for our school-choice program than any other state in the United States,” DeSantis continued. “And so we’ve shown people can succeed in Florida regardless of their race, ethnicity, any of that.”

Still, O’Donnell pointed out that because of DeSantis’ policies in the Sunshine State, some minorities and members of the LGBTQ community think he would discriminate against them. DeSantis said some of the blame for that lies with the media. 

“Well, part of the reason they think that is ’cause of narratives that are put out by media,” DeSantis responded. “I mean, for example, when we had the fight with Disney over the elementary education about, should you have things about sex and gender identity telling a second grader that their gender’s fluid? We said, ‘Absolutely not.’ Parents in Florida agreed. And throughout — the country I think agreed with that.”

DeSantis said it was the media who coined the phrase “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits school teachers from teaching on sexual orientation or gender identity in early grades.

“The bill had —did not mention the word ‘gay,'” DeSantis said. “I never said that gay people wanted kindergartners to be told they can change their gender. That was the media that created that and the left that created that.”

Asked when the right age is to talk about gender identity in schools, DeSantis didn’t offer an age but said it’s “unacceptable” a child could transition genders without parental consent. 

“And here’s the thing, are we doing so well as a country on math scores and reading scores and science?” DeSantis said. “Why don’t we focus on those things? You know, that I think unites everybody regardless of their viewpoint.”

O’Donnell also asked DeSantis about whether he would support a Supreme Court justice who would vote to overturn gay marriage. DeSantis didn’t directly answer but said he thinks the court views its decision on gay marriage in Obergefell differently from Roe v. Wade, and he doesn’t expect the high court to reevaluate the matter. 

“You know, I’ve already said in terms of, in terms of Obergefell, that what the court pointed out, and the other justices, was reliance interest is important with respect to precedent,” DeSantis said. “And I think all those other eight justices have signaled that, because there’s a significant reliance interest, that they would not view that the same as they did with Dobbs. And I think that’s likely to be, to be the case going forward. I don’t think you’re gonna see them reevaluate that.”