Ron Desantis speaks from a podium, his arms outstretched

15-Year-Old Aspiring Journalist Continues To Strike Fear Into Republicans

Quinn Mitchell, a 15-year-old self-described political commentator from New Hampshire, is known for asking political candidates engaging and sharp questions based on his thorough research of them. He is a self-professed politics and history enthusiast.

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Many in the political sphere have praised Mitchell, including President Joe Biden, who has applauded him for his work as an aspiring journalist.

The 15-year-old high school student is also making some Republican 2024 hopefuls uneasy, as they are seemingly afraid of his tough questions. Ron DeSantis recently drew national attention for being unable to answer a question from Quinn regarding Donald Trump.

During the event with Ron DeSantis, Quinn asked the candidate whether he believed that “Trump violated the peaceful transfer of power, a key principle of American democracy that we must uphold.”

Ron DeSantis squirreled away from answering the question, opting to respond with, “If this election is about Biden’s failures and our vision for the future, we’re going to win. If it’s about relitigating things that happened 2-3 years ago, we’re going to lose.”

In an interview with CNN, Quinn said that he asked a simple question that Ron DeSantis should have anticipated since it’s on “a lot of voters minds.” In the same interview, Mitchell said he was physically intimidated by Ron DeSantis’ team. He said he does not want the situation to escalate into a fight between himself and DeSantis, but he is concerned about the extent that the team was willing to go through to stop him from asking questions.

Republicans’ fear of this aspiring teen journalist goes beyond just Ron DeSantis. This past weekend, Mitchell—who, by his own count has attended more than 80 presidential rallies—was reportedly removed from a party event. From The Washington Post:

On Friday, Quinn was kicked out of the New Hampshire Republicans’ First in the Nation Leadership Summit after a volunteer accused him of being a Democratic operative, according to Quinn and state GOP officials. Claiming Quinn had caused multiple disturbances at previous events, a pair of GOP officials had security eject him from the Sheraton hotel in Nashua, N.H., he said.

Mitchell also detailed the event in an episode of his podcast, saying he was treated aggressively by some GOP staffers who accused him of being a “tracker.” He says they also accused him of being a “disturbance.”

If an aspiring teenage journalist is labeled as a threat by candidates for asking questions at an event specifically designed to let people ask those politicians questions, then this isn’t just an issue about freedom of the press. This is an attack against the freedom of speech—and the essence of democracy itself. When journalists (and aspiring journalists) are treated as disruptors and nuisances for having pointed inquiries, then discourse itself is in jeopardy. If people cannot make their representatives respond to simple questions, it quashes the potential for meaningful discussions that would help people get to know their candidates better.

(featured image: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)


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Vanessa Esguerra
Vanessa Esguerra (She/They) has been a Contributing Writer for The Mary Sue since 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, she (happily) rejected law school in 2021 and has been a full-time content writer since. Vanessa is currently taking her Master's degree in Japanese Studies in hopes of deepening her understanding of the country's media culture in relation to pop culture, women, and queer people like herself. She speaks three languages but still manages to get lost in the subways of Tokyo with her clunky Japanese. Fueled by iced coffee brewed from local cafés in Metro Manila, she also regularly covers anime and video games while queuing for her next match in League of Legends.