Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis is backtracking claims he made shortly following a horrific accident at his city’s Pride parade, saying he was “terrorized” by the incident, instead of stating the incident was a “terror attack.”
As reported by the Daily Wire, one man was killed while another was injured during the Pride parade when the driver of a pickup truck accelerated and ran them over.
“Within moments of the tragedy and before any information was known, Democrats and the media began treating it as a deliberate attack on the LGBT community,” the Daily Wire noted, citing the mayor’s immediate remarks.
“This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community,” Trantalis told WPLG. “This is exactly what it is. Hardly an accident. It was deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person. Luckily they missed that person, but unfortunately, they hit two other people.”
“That person” was later identified as Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). It is not clear how close Wasserman-Schultz was to the incident and reports vary. In some, the truck “narrowly missed” the Democratic legislator. In others, she was getting into a different vehicle nearby but not immediately adjacent to the incident.
Following Trantalis’ comments, leftists started to blame Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the incident.
”Trantalis’ claims have been echoed across social media and in other media reports, with many blaming a law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, as the cause of the accident,” the Daily Wire reported. “That bill gives some legal protections to drivers who are sued after running into protesters when they felt they were threatened, but it does not, as many on the Left claimed Sunday morning, give people free rein to run down protesters, nor does give anyone the right to run over parade participants.”
At the time of Trantalis’ remarks, there was no evidence to suggest that the incident was intentional. Reports indicated that the incident was an accident and the driver remained at the scene, who appeared to have partaken in the Pride parade.
Trantalis faced fury on social media as users slammed the mayor for suggesting the incident was intentional.
Sunday night, Trantalis tried to walk back his remarks with a separate statement to Fox News.
The statement did not include an apology.
“Last evening, at the start of what was to be a celebration of pride for the LGBT community and commemoration of our hard-won victories for equality, our community faced the worst of tragedies. The grief of our LGBT community — and greater Fort Lauderdale as a whole — is palpable,” Trantalis told the network. “I was an eyewitness to the horrifying events. It terrorized me and all around me. I reported what I saw to law enforcement and had strong concerns about what transpired — concerns for the safety of my community. I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away.”
“Law enforcement took what appeared obvious to me and others nearby and investigated further — as is their job. As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control,” he added.