POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Gov. Ron DeSantis to campaign with Utah lawmakers amid presidential bid

Jul 18, 2023, 4:20 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2023, 9:11 am

ron desantis, who will make an appearance in utah friday...

Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at the Celebrate Freedom Foundation Hangar in West Columbia, S.C. Tuesday, July 18, 2023. DeSantis visited South Carolina to file his 2024 candidacy for president. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

 Senator Todd Weiler joins Dave & Dujanovic, listen live at 9:20 am. 

SALT LAKE CITY — Presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is campaigning with Utah lawmakers Friday.

State Sen. Todd Weiler confirmed the event to KSL NewsRadio, and said he was invited by the campaign. But, Weiler said he’s not involved in any fundraisers being held in Utah by the DeSantis campaign.

“We’ve planned [the event] on the steps of the Capitol, which is a public place,” Weiler said.

“Several” other lawmakers have committed to attending, according to Weiler. Among those, Utah Sen President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, his reps confirm.

“I’m afraid if my party nominates Trump again, then we’ll lose again to Joe Biden,” Weiler said.

  

Weiler said he’s supporting DeSantis because he has the values he’s looking for in a candidate, and Weiler wants someone who can serve for eight years, not just for four.

“There’s a lot of good candidates out there but I don’t know if they can win,” Weiler said.

DeSantis’ platform

Much like former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has been a divisive political figure. Speaking to Utah’s Republican Party at their state convention this past April, he touted several policies that he championed in Florida including blocking transgender surgeries and puberty blockers, his war with Disney over LGBTQ issues and eliminating diversity, equity, and inclusion offices in higher education.

“They say it’s diversity, equity, and inclusion,” DeSantis said at the convention. “In reality, it’s a Trojan horse to try to impose a left-wing ideological agenda on our universities and on the students,” he said.

“How it’s really practiced, DEI, it’s really discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination, and that has no part in our public system,” DeSantis told the audience.

Weiler was asked if he was okay with this type of rhetoric.

“There are some of his positions that I like better than others,” said Weiler. “But I also think that he says some hard things that oftentimes need to be said.”

Weiler argued that the political environment is divisive and DeSantis doesn’t back down and stands up for what he believes in. Weiler called that part of his “leadership traits” that he argues voters are looking for. 

“Does he fit everything perfectly? Is he as polished as someone who’s been on the campaign trail longer could be? Probably not,” Weiler said. “But he’s got what I’m looking for in a presidential candidate.”

Related: DeSantis raised $20 million in second quarter, campaign says

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Gov. Ron DeSantis to campaign with Utah lawmakers amid presidential bid