MSNBC's Symone Sanders highlights bizarre anti-LGBTQ DeSantis video: “Who is the audience here?”

Former Republican congressman: “I think it's a losing issue for him, in every way”

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Citation From the July 5, 2023 edition of MSNBC's The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle

SYMONE SANDERS (HOST): Here now, Democratic Strategist Aisha Mills, she is also the former president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund. And former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania is also here. Aisha, I'm going to start with you. MSNBC opinion columnist Zeeshan Aleem writes that the ad all but called for the extermination of trans people. What is your reaction? 

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS (POLITICAL STRATEGIST): Well, this is not surprising because, Symone, this is the kind of craziness we have been seeing from DeSantis his entire career at this point, really, as governor. At the end of the day, it is completely insane that he is running to represent all of America by being the most egregious to most of America. I don't understand how he thinks that's a winning strategy but he’s is trying to out-Trump Trump. The fact this ad is trying to make Donald Trump look like he is some awesome, tolerant progressive, compared to DeSantis, just shows you the state of the Republican party. At the end of the day, there are real peoples lives who are at stake here and who are at risk because of this ridiculous rhetoric, because bigotry is all over the airwaves, because a sitting governor and presidential candidate is proud of doing harm to communities and children, trans, young people, and bragging about it. This is the state of play we're in right now, and everybody should be completely aghast. 

SANDERS: Charlie, the ad, it wasn't even a television ad, by the way, it was something on social that the Desantis campaign boosted. It is full of these memes most Americans probably wouldn't even recognize. I continue to ask, who is Ron Desantis trying to speak to? Who is the audience here? 

CHARLIE DENT (FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN): He seems to think he could out-flank Donald Trump on the right. This is certainly not the right way to do it. This is a terrible general election strategy where the party needs to become more socially inclusive and tolerant. This moves in the absolute wrong direction. I think it's a losing issue for him, in every way. He's trying to suggest that Donald Trump is somehow a shining pillar of tolerance and affection for the LGBT community which, obviously, is not the case. That is what he has done. Again, I think, you know, DeSantis is simply trying to, you know, he is trying to out-Trump Trump. He can't do that, and it seems he is putting himself in a very extreme corner here that has a very limited marketplace out there, at least among swing voters, and swing states, and marginal districts around the country. I just don't see any upside to this ad. 

SANDERS: Charlie, I think Ron DeSantis might live in this extreme corner given all the things his campaign continues to do. This ad, heavy on the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, his comments and his speeches are as well. It's all light on actual policy.