DeSantis spokesman Pusa visits his campaign staff

Florida Gov. Press Secretary Christina Pusa.  Ron DeSantis listens during a press conference on August 18, 2021 in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Florida Gov. Press Secretary Christina Pusa. Ron DeSantis listens during a press conference on August 18, 2021 in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

AP

The government’s chief spokesman, Ron DeSantis, Christina Pusa, announced on Thursday that she was moving from her executive office to her political campaign.

Pushsaw, 31, said on twitter That she would now serve as “Rapid Response Director” for DeSantis’s re-election campaign, and said in her resignation letter that she would be replaced by Assistant Press Secretary Brian Griffin.

Pusa thanked the governor’s chief of staff, James Uthmeyer, and director of communications, Taryn Fenske, for assigning him the task.

“You gave me the latitude to respond to media narratives in direct and often unconventional ways, allowing me to redefine this role for a leader whose actions speak for themselves,” he wrote. She wrote.

Pusav was hired by the governor’s office in May 2021 after writing an article in a conservative magazine Human events that were critical of Rebekah Jones, a former Health Department analyst and critic of DeSantis, He was paid $120,000 per year.

take to twitter

Using personal accounts, not state-run accounts, Pusa earned a reputation as the main proponent of DeSantis’ political narrative during his 15 months as a government official. His tweets were regularly promoted by conservative media sources and bloggers. When she joined the governor’s office, she had less than 5,000 followers and had only tweeted 559. He now has over 188,000 followers and over 48,000 tweets.

Pusa became a frequent critic of journalists in independent news organizations, which he called “legacy media”. She often labeled journalists “activists” for asking questions seeking information or clarification, which she or the administration objected to.

When Florida Republicans held their annual convention in Tampa in July and barred several members of the press corps from the event without explanation, Pusa Posted a tweet: “My message is to try to make them cry about it. Then go kickboxing and have a margarita. And write the same hit piece you were about to write anyway.”

In his resignation letter, he reiterated key points of the DeSantis campaign, noting how the administration pushed back against COVID-19 restrictions, kept schools open, responded to the Champlain Towers collapse, “promoted fatherhood” and fought to “protect parental rights”.

Pusa’s job as DeSantis’ press secretary was his first job in the US government, according to his resume. Pusav previously worked for Stand Together, Koch Brothers Supported Foundation, from 2017-19.

According to her resume, she was a master at sending messages around K-12 education and helped with high-profile national efforts. She listed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as highlights of her time with the organization, though her resume didn’t explain what her role was in those efforts. .

Pusav also served as an international political advisor in 2017. In 2019, he took a full-time job as a communications and media advisor to the former Georgia country president, Mikhail Saakashvili, who is now a . Key figures in Ukrainian politics, In 2020, Pusa served in Georgia’s parliamentary election. This year, the US Department of Justice informed her that she had failed to register as a foreign agent under a federal disclosure law. Pushav later filed for registration.

on 11th June 2020, foreign policy Published a column entitled “I Abolished the Police and Rebuilt the Police”. The United States can do the same.” Its author was Saakashvili, who served as President of Georgia from 2004 to 2013. The piece was actually written by Pusa, according to documents he sent to the DeSantis administration.

Praise and Criticism of Pushaw

Fenske, who remains as the governor’s director of communications, Said on Twitter that Pushhav “An incredible man w/ exceptional talent and has served Florida and Governor DeSantis well. We will miss him, but know he will be an amazing asset to the campaign!”

Ryan Petty, a DeSantis supporter whose daughter was shot and killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, Said on Twitter: “As she resigns, Christina outlines a roadmap for every Republican governor in America.”

Mac Stepanovich, former Chief of Staff to former Governor Jeb Bush, who frequently quarreled with and criticized Pusa, Tweeted a photo of the Wicked Witch of the West melting. “I thought of it as my patriotic duty not to give him the road without any challenge,” He has written.

Pusav’s rhetoric has had a measurable effect, According to a report released on Wednesday Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, and the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a non-profit group that tracks online extremism.

An analysis of social media by the groups said that after the Florida Legislature passed the Parental Rights in Education Act, references to pedophiles and “grooming” increased by more than 400% in the month, dubbed by opponents. has been done.

“Don’t Say Gay” as billed.

In March, Pusho compared criticism of the bill to pedophilia.

“If you are against the anti-grooming bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you do not condone the grooming of 4-8 year olds. Silence is collusion,” she wrote,

Three months after the governor began in office, Twitter temporarily Suspended his Twitter account for 12 hours for alleged “disturbing behavior” And for violating rules on “abusive behavior,” the Associated Press said that her conduct caused a reporter to receive threats and other online abuse.

After publicizing her resignation letter on Twitter, Pusha wrote: “Now the gloves are off.”

The Mary Ellen class can be reached at [email protected] and @MaryEllenKlas.

Mary Ellen Klass is the state capitol bureau chief for the Miami Herald, where she covers government and politics and focuses on investigative and accountability reporting. In 2018-19, Mary Ellen was a Niemann Fellow at Harvard University and was named the 2019 Murray Marder Nieman Fellow in Watchdog Journalism. In 2018, he won the Sunshine Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. The Herald’s Statehouse Bureau is a joint operation with the Tampa Bay Times Statehouse staff. Please support her work with a digital subscription. You can contact him at [email protected] and on Twitter @MaryEllenKlas.

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