It didn’t take long for Democrats and their close friends and allies in the activist media to make deceptive accusations about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after the Republican presidential primary debate. High-profile leftists and news outlets are peppering social media with claims that DeSantis lied about having been a Navy SEAL during the proceedings.
When discussing his military service as a JAG officer, DeSantis said he “was assigned with the U.S. Navy SEALS in Iraq,” and that is how he learned that one must “focus on the mission above all else.” He continued, urging Republicans to “look forward” and “make sure that we’re bringing the message that can win in November 2024.”
He said later in the debate that he “deployed to Iraq alongside U.S. Navy SEALS.”
The Daily Beast, which never saw a false narrative they didn’t want to promote, published a piece in which former Navy SEALs repeated the accusation. “He was never a Navy SEAL,” said Billy Allmon, a former SEAL. “It’s a misleading statement.”
DeSantis was a Navy lawyer and served as a legal adviser to a SEAL commander during the Iraq war. He was there to ensure that the military adhered to the law and treated war prisoners humanely.
The article acknowledges that it is “technically true” that the governor was deployed with a SEAL team. Allmon says his comments were “something more akin to a lie by omission.”
“I mean, I could go onboard the USS Constellation for a tour, and I can then go around saying, ‘I was on the USS Constellation,’ and just leave it at that,” Allmon added. “And people would think, ‘Hey, he was on the Constellation.’ It just leaves an open forum, and he should have clarified it a lot better.”
On social media, other leftists parroted the talking point, including progressive attorney Tristan Snell, also a fan of peddling false narratives:
Ron DeSantis says he was a Navy SEAL.
He was NOT.
He was a lawyer in the Navy, and at one point he was assigned to provide legal support for a SEAL team commander.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) August 24, 2023
Forward Party advisor Lucy Caldwell also chimed in, accusing DeSantis of “stolen valor.”
DeSantis just did it again. Misleading to suggest he was a SEAL. He cannot claim this was accidental or a slip of the tongue when he’s just done it again.
This is officially stolen valor territory. Despicable. https://t.co/NCyMWEkL2S
— Lucy Caldwell (@lucymcaldwell) August 24, 2023
MSNBC legal analyst Jill Wine-Banks said DeSantis “misled” the audience with his remarks about his military service.
DeSantis misled with his reference to being with Navy Seals. He was a legal advisor to the Seals and assisted with urinalysis according to a check online.
— Jill Wine-Banks (@JillWineBanks) August 24, 2023
This is the very definition of a fake controversy. At the very worst, one could argue that DeSantis could have been more precise with his language. But the notion that he was pretending to have been a Navy SEAL is absolutely absurd. The governor is a shrewd politician and is fully aware of the fact that if he dared to lie about his military service while running for president, it would get exposed post haste.
But this is not a commentary on DeSantis. It is a commentary on the dishonest propagandists that are part of the activist media. The issue is the very nature of the political discourse they choose to engage in. Any sane person can see that the candidate was using his military service to make the case for his campaign while also explaining how the Republican Party should function in order to score political victories.
Instead of dealing with the substance of his arguments, these people chose to dissect his words in a way that promotes their left-wing agenda. In this way, they hope to deceive the public into supporting the candidates they are backing. This is the state of the media establishment that we are forced to endure in 2023. Fortunately, there are still folks in the media who are willing to debunk these lies and cut through the false narratives.