Gov. DeSantis hosts a heckler-free news availability in the security of the state Capitol

Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared free of interruption during a round-table discussion with health association officials and doctors in the Cabinet chamber on July 21, 2020. Credit: Issac Morgan

Following two incidents in which hecklers interrupted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press briefings, Florida’s Capitol Police made sure to check credentials for reporters who showed up for the governor’s appearance on Tuesday.

A Capitol Press Corps reporter in Tallahassee noted the difference in a Twitter feed:

“Capitol police were closely inspecting press badges before allowing reporters into today’s @GovRonDeSantis press conference. That’s not happened before to me or my colleagues. Perhaps they’re trying to keep out hecklers?”

Florida Phoenix reporter Issac Morgan. Credit: Diane Rado

Florida Phoenix reporter Issac Morgan also was in the Capitol at the time of the governor’s press conference, and was screened by a staffer who looked at Morgan’s press badge.

Morgan said he did not see any protesters that afternoon — none outside, or in the downstairs room in the Capitol building where the news conference took place.

As previously reported by the Florida Phoenix, DeSantis was interrupted in Miami-Dade County last week by a man who identified himself as Thomas Kennedy, statewide coordinator for the immigrants’ rights group United We Dream, over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And on Monday in Orlando, a group of protesters shouted: “Shame on you…you are lying to the public!” Again, because of the governor’s COVID response.

The Orlando protesters could be heard over a Florida Channel feed beating on the windows and yelling at DeSantis at a OneBlood blood donation facility as he and representatives of the company continued to speak despite the noise.

Florida’s coronavirus cases continue to surge with nearly 370,000 infections and more than 5,200 deaths as DeSantis faces scrutiny over his handling of the crisis.

Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.