TAMPA, Fla.—During a campaign event on Oct. 5 built around his continued dedication to law enforcement, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took some time to share his perspective with Tampa Bay area supporters about his upcoming debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“I think about the future,” Mr. DeSantis said. “California really represents the petri dish for leftism in America. What Biden and his crew are doing are about three or four years behind where California is. And, so, that represents the future,” he said.
“If Biden or Newsom or whoever gets in (the White House) in 2024, that’s a recipe to accelerate America’s decline. And we can’t have that.”
In contrast, Florida, Mr. DeSantis argued, represents a model that can reverse America’s decline and “can usher in an American revival that will give this country a new birth of freedom.”
“This is an important debate,” he said. “It’s an important choice for the country to be able to have.”
The debate is not so much about “Florida vs. California,” he said. “That debate is over. People are leaving there and moving here. You can’t argue with that, and people vote with their feet.”
The Republican candidate from Dunedin, Florida, said he never remembered seeing any California license plates in Florida until he started to see them more and more while he’s been governor.
“Turns out most of these folks were so fed up with what was going on out there that they picked up their lives, their businesses, their families, and they moved across the entire continental United States,” he said.
He also accused California and other places across the country of “playing COVID authoritarianism.”
“I‘ll never forget the people that left those locked down states,” he said. “The first time they arrived in Florida, go to the airport, they get out, and they were like, ’Whoa, people are actually living their lives. It’s like being in a different country.' So we became the place not just people to move to, but to visit and just want to get a break.”
And cheers roared when he pointed out: “California has a very high state income tax. We don’t have income tax in Florida. We rely on sales tax. California’s sales tax is much higher than Florida’s. They have the highest sales tax in the country.
California CrimeThe two-term Florida governor used the Golden State elsewhere in his speech as an example of what happens when “law and order” is not valued and upheld.
“One of the reasons why people came to Florida was because they knew they and their family would be safe in the state of Florida,” he said. “And they were not safe in Chicago. They were not safe in Los Angeles. They’re not safe in New York City. Because all of those communities turned their back on public safety, they turned their back on law enforcement.”
The governor described his first experiences in Southern California as a very positive experience, briefly staying in Coronado with the Navy before being deployed overseas and then right afterward.
He said he could understand why people wanted to live there. But things have changed.
Visiting San Francisco recently, he recounted seeing businesses boarded up and people doing drugs and defecating on the streets.
“This country needs to take a page of Florida’s playbook when it comes to law and order,” he said. “We need law and order in this country more than ever.”
Meanwhile, the Golden State’s Democratic governor has rejected the idea of running for president multiple times. The 90-minute debate is set to be held on Nov. 30 at a yet-to-be-determined location in Georgia and broadcast on Fox News’ ‘Hannity.’