Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tore up Democratic California 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 are could live freely.
“I knew you had a lot of problems out here, but your governor is very concerned about what we’re doing in Florida, so I thought I had to come over,” DeSantis joked at the beginning of his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
DeSantis said Reagan “understood the critical role government had to play” and how it could be a “negative force if not applied properly” and that he has guided Florida with the same understanding throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have ruled.
“And I think if you look at the last four or five years and you look at individual state performance and you compare Florida to California, New York, Illinois and some of these other states, we had a great experiment. a great test of government philosophies,” he said. “Because of course we do things very differently in Florida than you do out here, very differently in Florida than in New York and Illinois.”
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“And if you look at the last four years, we’ve seen a great American exodus from states ruled by left-wing politicians who pushed left-wing ideology and delivered bad results, and you’ve seen massive gains in states like Florida, which accordingly, tried and true principles, which President Reagan held dear, govern,” he continued. “From the beginning of this state’s history up to the last four or five years, the people carved a path to California. They did not move away from California. And yet now you see the people of the state bleeding.”
DeSantis said Florida became a beacon of freedom as states like California became a “biomedical security state” due to outside pressures based on political ideology rather than data.
“And I can tell you, we’ve had families move off the Pacific Coast just because we had schools open in Florida when you didn’t open them in a lot of other states,” he said. “We’ve done things like banning vaccination passports in the state of Florida. States said you want to stay in a hotel, go to a restaurant, you need to cough up your vax papers for those mRNA recordings. And we said none of this is her business. Everyone has the right to participate in society. It’s a personal decision you make whether or not to accept it, and we won’t let you rule that out.
“Well what happened because we did one of the things that happened in 2021 was 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 more than 1,300 attendees at the Reagan Library, the DeSantis team told Fox News Digital.
Simi Valley Police said vandals attacked the library with graffiti reading “Ron DeFascist” the night before the governor’s visit, KTLA reported. Library staff were reportedly able to remove the paint before the governor’s visit.
Sunday’s event was set to kick off 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 presidential bid in 2024, but is widely considered a likely candidate.
DeSantis revealed his proposal to “make America Florida” in his book, saying it will require “the successful defeat of many powerful elite institutions” in the quest for freedom.
The book detailed DeSantis’ approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, which often ran counter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and was the frequent target of liberal backlash. The governor argued in the book that the attacks were a “reasonable price” for exercising leadership.
“A governor who aggressively pursues policies that defy the left-wing ideology of the nation’s elites will be met with fire — not just from the legacy media, but also from activist groups, big tech, and American corporations,” he wrote. “When I took a firm stand against the dominant narrative about draconian coronavirus policies, I might have been slandered by the usual suspects, but I’ve saved the livelihoods of millions of people across Florida.”
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