Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered remarks and took a handful of questions from a crowded room of about 215 people in Rock Rapids on Friday morning. The event started with State Rep. Skyler Wheeler explaining why he endorsed DeSantis and was followed with former Republican Party of Iowa co-chair Dr. Cody Hoefert offering his endorsement to DeSantis.
DeSantis started his delivery with the familiar line about America’s decline not being inevitable, but rather a choice. He asked if Americans would decide to keep doing what has gotten us in this “mess,” or if they would choose to reverse course.
“In order to get there we have to send Joe Biden back to his basement in Delaware where he belongs,” DeSantis said.
He focused on economics, noting that while families in the country are struggling, people in D.C. have never done better. DeSantis said five of the eight wealthiest counties in the country are suburbs of Washington D.C.
“Are they producing much of anything beneficial,” he asked.
DeSantis traced the economic issues back to the start of COVID lockdowns, which stopped the economy and was followed by “trillions and trillions” of dollars being pumped into the economy. He vowed not to allow Congress to “spend us into oblivion” any longer as President.
DeSantis said Florida has paid down almost 25 percent of the state’s total debt it accumulated throughout its history during his tenure as governor.
“So don’t tell me that it can’t be done,” he said. “You’ve just got to be willing to lead and be willing to make good decisions.”
DeSantis pivoted to energy policy, noting that the Biden Administration is “waging war” on American energy. He promised all domestic energy production would be wide open under a DeSantis presidency.
Education needs to be about education and not indoctrination, DeSantis said. He said that is true for higher education as much as it is K-12 education. Americans also do not need to attend a four-year university, he said, instead urging some to pursue vocational training and work.
“In Florida we have vocational education in middle school now,” he said. “A truck driver should not have to pay off the student loan of somebody that got a degree in zombie studies. That is not fair, it’s not right and we’re not going to do it.”
He highlighted his fight with Disney over keeping transgender ideology out of K-12 schools. Nobody in history had shown a willingness to take on Disney politically in Florida, he said, let alone emerge victorious. While the thought was there was no way DeSantis would sign the bill because he’d face the wrath of Disney, DeSantis said there was a new sheriff in town.
“That may have been true throughout most of Florida history,” he said. “I do not subcontract out my leadership to woke corporations based in Burbank, California.”
Due to Biden’s border crisis, DeSantis proclaimed, every state is a border state. He discussed sending people to help with the southern border in Texas. He reminded attendees about his decision to transport illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard. He shared stories he has heard from mothers who have lost children due to fentanyl and said it is time to treat the drug cartels like a foreign terrorist organization.
“When I’m President, if they are breaking into our country with fentanyl that is going to kill our societies, we’re going to shoot them stone-cold dead,” he said. “They are going to be done. We are not going to put up with this anymore.”
DeSantis vowed to not allow destructive lockdown policies and mandates that violate freedom. He said we know mask mandates do not work, yet in parts of the country they are attempting to bring them back. As President, he said there would be a reckoning for Dr. Fauci, the CDC and the NIH.
“We’re going to hold them accountable because if we don’t, they are going to get away with it and they will try to do it again,” he said. “We can never let this happen to our country again.”
An issue that has been front-and-center the last few cycles but has largely been ignored is religious liberty. DeSantis said he will stand for religious liberty and work to restore full religious liberty in America.
But, he cautioned, if Republicans do not win in 2024, none of it matters.
“And none of this matters if you don’t follow through and do what you said you were going to do,” he said.
DeSantis promised he isn’t the type of politician to say something in an effort to curry favor from voters and then forget what he said when he gets into office. He promised to serve as President just like he has served as Governor of Florida, a “blue state” that has turned solidly red under his direction.
“People respond to leadership,” he said. “They want to know that you’re setting the vision, you’re executive and you’re delivering results. As soon as they see that, they want to be on the team and they want to be helpful.”
School choice, parental rights in education, a ban on the CCP purchasing Florida land, constitutional carry, the Heartbeat Bill, tax cuts, stripping DEI out of public universities, banning sanctuary cities, ridding gender ideology from schools — all have been accomplished in Florida under DeSantis.
“Everything I’ve promised I would do I delivered on,” he said. “And actually, I did more than what I promised. The time for excuses for Republicans is over. Outside of Florida and Iowa, we’ve had a lot of disappointing elections over the past many cycles. I will get the job done in 2024. As President, I promise you I will not let you down.”