Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis ripped California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom during a speech Sunday in the Golden State, saying Californians are fleeing the state in droves to live in Florida where he said they can live under freedom.
“I knew you had a lot of problems here, but your governor is very concerned about what we’re doing in Florida, so I figured I had to come in,” DeSantis joked at the start of his speech at the Ronald Reagan. The Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
DeSantis said Reagan understood “the critical role that government has to play” and how it could be a “negative force if not implemented properly,” and he governed Florida with the same understanding throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And I think if you look at the last four or five years, and you look at the performance of individual states, and you compare Florida to California, New York, Illinois, some of those other states, there’s been a great experiment us, a great test in control philosophy,” he said. “Because of course, you know, we’re taking a much different approach in Florida than you guys have going forward, much different in Florida than which they have done in New York and Illinois.”
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“And if you look over the last four years, we’ve seen a huge American exodus from states governed by leftist politicians who impose a clerical ideology and deliver poor results, and you’ve seen huge gains in states like Florida, which are governed by . the tried and true principles that President Reagan held in high esteem,” he said. “From the beginning of this state’s history, all the way to the last four or five years, people have forged a path to California. You didn’t make it out of California. And yet now, you see the population of the state increasing.”
DeSantis said Florida became a beacon of freedom when states like California became a “biomedical security state” because of outside pressure based on political ideology instead of data.
“And I can tell you, we had families moving from the Pacific coast, just because we had schools open in Florida, when they weren’t open in many other states,” he said. “We did things like ban vaccine passports in the state of Florida. States said, you want to stay in a hotel, go to a restaurant, you had to cough up your vax papers on these mRNA shots. And we said everyone has the right to take part in society. It’s a personal choice you make whether or not to take part, and we won’t let you be excluded.”
“Now, what ended up happening because we did one of the things that ended up happening in 2021, Florida set a record for domestic tourism,” he said. “If you compare the change in tourism in California from 2019 to 2021, California tourism decreased by 22%.”
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DeSantis spoke to a crowd of more than 1,300 attendees at the Reagan library, DeSantis’ staff told Fox News Digital.
Simi Valley police said vandals targeted the library overnight before the governor’s visit with graffiti reading, “Ron DeFascist,” KTLA reported. Library employees were reportedly able to clean up the paint before the governor’s visit.
Sunday’s event was the launch of DeSantis’ new book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” which was released Tuesday. The governor has not officially announced a 2024 presidential run but is widely considered a likely candidate.
DeSantis revealed his “Make America Florida” proposal in his book, saying that his quest for freedom will require “successfully fighting many powerful elite institutions.”
The book detailed DeSantis’ approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, which often contradicted guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was a frequent target for liberal pushback. The governor argued in the book that the attacks were “a price worth paying” for exercising leadership.
“A governor who leads aggressively will pursue policies that confront the leftist ideology of the nation’s elite — not just from the legacy media but also from activist groups, Big Tech, and corporate America,” he wrote. “When I took strong stands against the prevailing narrative of draconian coronavirus policies, I may have been vilified by the usual suspects, but I was able to save the livelihoods of millions of people across Florida.”
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