Florida Governor Snubs LGBTQ Community on Eve of Pulse Shooting Anniversary

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Photo: Phil Sears/AP

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is backtracking on Twitter after his proclamation on the third anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting garnered criticism for omitting any mention of the LGBTQ community targeted in the attack.

DeSantis’ original Pulse Remembrance Day proclamation, released the evening before the anniversary, mentioned that the shooter who killed 49 people and injured tens of others was “an ISIS-inspired terrorist,” but failed to include any reference to the LGBTQ community, nor the fact that most of the victims of the attack identified as LGBTQ. According to Politico, the proclamation also misspelled one of the victim’s names.

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Here’s a portion of the proclamation, from Florida Politics:

“WHEREAS, the State of Florida mourns the loss of life and ensures that the victims of this senseless tragedy will never be forgotten; and

“WHEREAS, the entire state of Florida has come together to stand boldly with Orlando and the Central Florida community against terrorism; and

“WHEREAS, we are grateful for the extraordinary efforts of our first responders who were on the scene within minutes to provide assistance to the injured and victims of the shooting; and

“WHEREAS, we should express our profound sympathy to the families who lost loved ones during this tragic incident and remember that Floridians are resilient and will remain united even during the darkest times of our State’s history;...

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State Rep. Anna Eskamani pointed out DeSantis’ omission on Twitter, also comparing the proclamation to that of former Gov. Rick Scott and finding the two to be extremely similar. Scott’s version, issued last year, did reference “Florida’s LGBTQ community,” a phrase removed in DeSantis’ version. In later tweets, Eskamani also criticized DeSantis for not recognizing that many of the victims also came from Latinx and black communities.

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“You have a governor who attempts to brand himself as moderate and yet he literally cut and paste a Rick Scott proclamation while intentionally removing and thus erasing the LGBTQ community,” Eskamani, who represents the Orlando-area district encompassing the Pulse Nightclub, told Politico.

In a tweet shared on Wednesday morning, DeSantis included language specifying that the Pulse Nightclub shooting targeted Florida’s LGBTQ and Hispanic communities, seemingly to respond to the criticism garnered from his unsatisfactory proclamation.

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Hours later, DeSantis’ office issued a new proclamation “including a direct reference to our LGBTQ and Hispanic communities,” claiming that staff made an error in the previous version. (Given the mass staff exodus DeSantis experienced last week, that excuse might track.)

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis is scheduled to visit the Pulse memorial at 5 p.m. ET. Perhaps Orlando’s LGBTQ community may receive an actual apology then.

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About the author

Samantha Grasso

Splinter Staff Writer, Texan