Fox News offered Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a number of easy questions as host Brian Kilmeade played catch with the prospective 2024 GOP presidential candidate.
The interview was conducted on a baseball field in Dunedin, west of Tampa, and aired on Saturday night while Mr DeSantis was in Nevada preparing for his expected run for the White House.
But Florida Politics noted that “amid the gentle tosses were some questions that approached the level of actual news”.
Mr DeSantis was asked if his children are on his mind as he mulls a run. Mr DeSantis said that the Governor’s Mansion has provided a “bubble” for them.
“Well, it’s something we think about already as Governor, because really their whole — six, four, and two — go back, we were governor for four years. So this is what they know. We’re in a bubble now,” he said.
“Granted, the presidency is much different, but that’s what they’ve kind of lived in. So we try to keep them grounded on it,” he added.
Mr DeSantis also spoke about running for president in an election cycle beyond 2024.
“If I thought there was a rationale for me to accomplish things on behalf of the people, it’s not about me attaining a status. I mean, I just care about the results. So it’s all substance-driven, about whether I could serve or not serve in a variety of capacities,” he said. “But I’ll tell you, as governor and if you’re a determined executive, you know, you can make things happen, and we’ve done that in Florida. But we’ve always got a strategy for what we’re doing and we’re always working hard to advance the ball.”
The governor also responded to the criticism and name-calling by former President Donald Trump, his main rival for the 2024 nomination.
“You have a record of achievement. People can call you a name, but that’s not going to trump the achievement. And so we built the astounding record of achievement,” he said. “The best is yet to come. I’m defined by my accomplishments. I’m defined by leading the state, and I’m defined by having a state, which is the number one destination for Americans who are looking for a better way of life.”
Twitter users were quick to mock the Fox News appearance.
Georgetown professor Don Moynihan called it a “literal softball interview”.
Comic book writer Dan Slott added: “We are living IN a parody. Fox News is LITERALLY pitching Ron DeSantis softball questions.”
“Shouldn’t Kilmeade just go to work for the campaign at this point. Give me a break,” lawyer Ron Filipkowski tweeted.
“Just two guys hanging out, casually tossing a baseball while wearing suits and lav mics. As guys do!” Rebecca Buck added.
Former Republican operative Tim Miller said he was “having a flashback” to a 2016 football commercial for Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
“Having a catch in matching $700 suits. Just like normal people,” Bob Cesca tweeted.
Former Republican operative Rick Wilson went after Mr Trump: “Rupert [Murdoch] really is pi**ing on you, @realDonaldTrump. Are you so weak you’re just going to take it?”
Sports columnist Mike Lupica added: “They’re going to a book burning after to cap off a day of fun.”
Former Obama White House staffer Patrick Dillon said that he’s “old enough to remember John Kerry being mercilessly mocked for looking staged when he occasionally tossed a ball on the tarmac while wearing a tie”.