Florida Gov. DeSantis speaks at N. Charleston event
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to enter the 2024 presidential race within months, visited North Charleston Wednesday morning as part of his national book tour.
DeSantis discussed his time as governor of Florida and topics from his book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival” at an event in North Charleston.
“Parents should be able to send their kid to school, have them watch cartoons, just be kids without having some agenda shoved down their throats all the time,” DeSantis said about education, “so gender ideology has no place in our K-12 school system, and we’ve made that very, very clear.”
DeSantis has not officially entered the 2024 presidential race, but is expected to do so by the time the next federal fundraising reports are due in mid-July.
Just outside of the venue was merchandise available to buy suggesting that 2024 run for the presidency, with T-shirts seemingly poking fun at Disney, reading “DeSantisland 2024.”
In response to his visit, South Carolina Democrats put out this statement, which reads:
“Barely a week after signing a law that bans abortion before many women even know they are pregnant, Ron DeSantis has arrived in South Carolina to tout his extreme MAGA record that has failed Florida’s women and families. DeSantis has proven he’ll do anything if he thinks it will help him get power, and he’s pushing an agenda that will hurt South Carolinians in the process.”
DeSantis, however, stood by his philosophy on leadership.
“Anytime you make a decision as a leader, some people are going to like it and some people don’t,” DeSantis said, “so if your whole kind of ambition is to not upset anybody, well, one way to do that is to never do anything.”
The governor was also critical of President Joe Biden’s administrative policies during his speech in the Lowcountry.
“Look what they’ve done over the past few years, massive amounts of borrowing and spending, trillions and trillions of dollars,” DeSantis said. “The Federal Reserve printing trillions and trillions of dollars. What is the result of that going to be? Of course you’re going to have inflation.”
Former President Donald Trump has dominated the GOP field in the early stages of the 2024 race. Trump began raising money off the news of his indictment, and his campaign said he took in $15.4 million since the announcement of charges and Saturday’s most recent filing deadline for the fundraising report.
Trump, who is also facing several other criminal investigations, has tried to use his legal troubles to galvanize supporters, claiming all the cases are politically motivated. He has portrayed the New York charges as “election interference” but also suggested they may help him win support.
DeSantis also shared what makes him different compared to other politicians in Washington.
“We don’t get diverted with all the nonsense that’s out there, so we set that down on day one,” DeSantis said. “We also said I’m not going to be like some other republicans. Some of these guys get into office, and they’re like potted plants. They don’t do anything.”
Only a few candidates have officially entered the race: Trump’s U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor; former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who announced days after Trump’s indictment was filed; and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
DeSantis’ message seemed to resonate with people in attendance.
“I just love what he stands for. I love how hard he fights; how smart he works,” Summerville resident Scott Bates said. “I mean, when you can turn the state of Florida, growing up has always been Democratic or Republican, you don’t know, and now it dominates red, I mean, that’s a powerful message. It means it knows what he’s doing, and this country really needs someone like that.”
DeSantis and his wife, Casey, held a discussion hosted by the Dorchester County GOP at the Summerville Country Club. He then traveled to the Upstate for an event in Spartanburg.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.