POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

What DeSantis told the Utah GOP about the 2024 election

Apr 22, 2023, 7:21 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2023, 1:07 pm

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Utah Republican Party Organizing Convention. (Ryan Sun/...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Utah Republican Party Organizing Convention. (Ryan Sun/ Deseret News)

(Ryan Sun/ Deseret News)

During his keynote address, DeSantis spoke about his principles, the GOP’s chances in 2024, and his governing style in Florida. He left immediately after his speech and didn’t speak to local media.

Convention delegates seemed to react positively to his message, especially when he spoke about the conservative values shared by Utah and Florida.

“As an objective observer, Utah is one of the best governed, best performing states in the United States,” DeSantis said. He said that was because of the Beehive state’s business environment, education and “budgetary stability.”

“Underlying the success of Utah has been a commitment to freedom. Like Florida, Utah proves that freedom works,” DeSantis said to applause from the over 2,000 state GOP delegates gathered at Utah Valley University.

In DeSantis’ address, he spoke of a number of his accomplishments from his time leading Florida that he said the country should follow — alluding to his tagline, “make America Florida.”

He also spoke about what he believes Democrats hope to accomplish if they win the presidency and Congress again.

“As I look ahead to 2024, I believe if the Democrats are able to sweep the offices again… they will pack the U.S. Supreme Court, abolish the Electoral College and make Washington, D.C. a state and eliminate voter ID in every jurisdiction,” he said.

He said the Republican Party “needs to shake a culture of losing that has developed in recent years,” because in “in times like these, there is no substitute for victory.”

DeSantis repeatedly said there was a need for a “restoration” of “constitutional government” led by elected officials and not a federal bureaucracy that he said was an “unaccountable, weaponized Leviathan.”

Speaking about freedom, he pointed to differences in his COVID-19 pandemic policies from those advocated by former chief medical advisor to the president, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“No governor in this country was attacked more… but I was willing to let the chips fall where they may, knowing that we did the right thing,” he said.

DeSantis said his reelection win in 2022 showed that voters supported his leadership during the pandemic. Leadership “is about delivering results,” he said, adding that he believes his record is why people are moving to Florida more than any other state in the union.

He recently won a second term as governor by more than 1.5 million votes, winning over 60% of the Hispanic vote and flipping traditionally Democratic strongholds like Miami-Dade county. Pointing to Florida’s fast-growing population, DeSantis said this was also proof of the popularity of his policies.

DeSantis spoke against politics as entertainment and doing things to “virtue signal on social media.” He credited his success to not being like “some Republicans, who get into office and are like potted plants — that’s not leadership,” he said.

DeSantis listed cutting taxes, passing school choice legislation and an anti-abortion heartbeat bill as some of the reasons people are moving to the Sunshine state. He also spoke about stripping the Walt Disney Corporation of self-governance status.

The Florida state legislature session is ending in a few weeks, but before it ends, he promised to sign into law legislation that will “kneecap” environmental, social and governing investing strategies.

Many of the delegates applauded DeSantis loudly after he said this, as well as when he promised to prohibit “the implementation of any central bank digital currency.”

DeSantis also called for more family policy legislation by following Florida’s lead in a “permanent sales tax exclusion” of all baby items for newborns. “Raise your kids tax free,” he said.

Although Florida population exceeds Democratic-controlled states like New York, he said, New York’s budget is twice the size of the budget of the state of Florida. “But yet Florida has better roads, better services and high performing K-12 schools,” he said, “Where is all that money going?”

DeSantis called on the federal government to abandon the fiscal “recklessness in Washington” and follow fiscally-conservative principles. “If you want a well-managed budget and sound economy, you’ve got to embrace conservative policies Utah and Florida have shown,” he said.

A number of times, DeSantis criticized President Joe Biden directly, including over management of the nation’s southern border. “We have banned sanctuary cities in the state of Florida,” he said while calling for construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico.

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What DeSantis told the Utah GOP about the 2024 election