Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Takes Aim at Trump in First Campaign Speech
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign with a bang. In his first formal stump speech, DeSantis took aim at former President Donald Trump, claiming that he has “moved left” on key issues and can’t win a general election.
“There are a lot of voters that just aren’t going to ever vote for him. We just have to accept that.”
DeSantis didn’t directly criticize Trump during his hour-long address, but he did respond to Trump’s recent claim that Florida was the “third WORST State in Deaths by Covid” and that “New York had fewer deaths!”
“I’m going to fight back. The former president is now attacking me saying that [former New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo did better handling COVID than Florida did. I can tell you this: I could count the number of Republicans in this country on my hands that would rather have lived in New York under Cuomo than lived in Florida in our freedom zone.”
DeSantis made it clear that he isn’t going to make his campaign about Trump, but rather a referendum on the failed policies of President Joe Biden. However, Trump is focused on his Republican opponents, and that’s starting to wear thin on many.
Kickoff Tour Begins, Ends in Iowa
- May 31: Four Iowa cities
- New Hampshire
- South Carolina
- Return engagement with Ernst
Prior to his address, DeSantis and his wife, Casey, met with local pastors for prayer, mimicking Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) 2016 strategy when he won the Republican caucuses after lobbying extensively for Iowa’s evangelical vote.
A Tough Crowd
Among the curious Iowans who attended DeSantis’s speech was James Love of West Des Moines, who told The Epoch Times that he was a “no-nonsense Reagan Republican.”
Asked if he had a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, he said: “No, not yet. I don’t think most Iowans have made up their minds yet.”
Love moved to Iowa from Seattle 20 years ago. He said he misses the beautiful city and the Pacific Northwest but that Iowa has been good to him.
“There’s plenty of work in Des Moines. I’m lucky to be here,” he said before noting that, after 51 years as a general contractor, he’s “tired” and ready to relax.
But first things first.
“I am retiring this year.”
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