POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Ron DeSantis campaigns at Utah’s Capitol with lawmakers

Jul 21, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jul 26, 2023, 12:03 pm

Ron DeSantis at capitol...

Presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at Utah's capitol alongside Utah lawmakers Friday. Photo credit: Lindsay Aerts/KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was his usual firebrand self as he spoke at Utah’s capitol alongside Utah lawmakers Friday.

Seventeen lawmakers and some other elected officials stood behind DeSantis and publicly gave them their endorsement. That included Utah’s Sen. President, Stuart Adams, R-Layton and other members of Utah’s House leadership.

Notably, House Speaker Brad Wilson did not attend. He’s exploring a run for U.S. Senate in 2024.

The event was supposed to be held outside on the east steps of the capitol but was moved to the Gold Room inside. There, DeSantis rallied to a room full of reporters and a few supporters against many of President Biden’s policies.

“Our country is in decline,” DeSantis said. “We see it. We feel it. I don’t think that that decline is inevitable. I think that that decline is a choice.”

DeSantis touted the hard work his campaign has done and needs to do, to win the Republican nomination. Recent polling has him trailing President Trump, including among Utah voters.

“I am not content with simply managing the decline of this country a little bit better than the democrats,” he said. “I want to give this country a new birth of freedom, and together, we’re going to get that done.”

He was also asked about a recent controversy with Florida’s Board of Education policy over slavery. DeSantis said he has nothing to do with creating the policy that teaches “slaves developed skills” that could later be used for “personal benefit.”

“[The Florida Board of Education is] probably gonna show some of the folks that eventually parlayed … being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,” he said. “But, the reality is all of that is rooted in whatever is factual.”

A small group of demonstrators, some of them Black, showed up with signs that read “Slavery did not benefit the enslaved.”

Photo credit: Lindsay Aerts/KSL NewsRadio

DeSantis now heads to a fundraiser in Plesant Grove, which will cost attendees as much as $13,200 per VIP couple and $1,000 per individual. DeSantis will be doing more fundraising in Utah during the upcoming weekend.

Related stories: Gov. Cox meeting with Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday, Senate President Stuart Adams holding fundraiser

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Ron DeSantis campaigns at Utah’s Capitol with lawmakers