DeSantis Rises As He Promises He’s ‘Only Begun To Fight’: ‘Put On Full Armor Of God’ To Fight The Left

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was repeatedly met with standing ovation over the weekend as he spoke to the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference.

DeSantis’ speech comes after a new straw poll from a top conservative summit over the weekend found that DeSantis has overtaken former President Donald Trump as the person that conservatives desire to be the next president.

DeSantis, who spoke for half an hour at the event, highlighted his record as the state’s governor and what his goals are moving forward.

RON DESANTIS, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA (R): Well, welcome to the freest state in these United States. And quite frankly, we were in many respects over the last year, the focus of freedom in the entire Western world. We’re honored that you chose to be in Florida for this, and not only do we have a great state, God has blessed us immensely. We’re honored to have, what I think is, who I think is unquestionably the greatest first lady in these 50 states, my wife Casey. …

You know, we’re the first family in Florida to be in the governor’s mansion with young children in a long time. We have a four year old daughter, a three-year-old son, and a 14-month old daughter. And, let’s just say, it’s obviously when you have young kids, many of you know, going from man-to-man to zone defense has been very challenging for us, but I can tell you, we’ve learned you know, we know, for example, the governor’s mansion, you got nice wallpaper in the state dining room. The finger paint comes out. We figured that out, we got a beautiful Florida room with a nice Oriental rug. The slime will come out. You know, you just have to troubleshoot these things, but we’re very, very blessed to have have a young family in the governor’s mansion. And you may have even seen my son’s golf debut it was on Fox News. He’s three years old and he’s cracking ‘em pretty good. We’re excited about the future of the state, the direction we’ve gone, which you know, even before COVID, when I became governor, I think everyone’s got to make a decision when you get elected to office, how are you going to approach that? And for me, my ability to serve as governor and the opportunity, wasn’t an opportunity to be somebody. I didn’t need another title. It was an opportunity to do great things on behalf of the state. I was not going to settle for merely being the controlled opposition to leftism. Instead, we were going to fight big battles and we were going to win and we have practiced that.

My first year as governor, I signed into law, the largest expansion of school choice anywhere in the country. I signed a ban on sanctuary cities. And through my appointments, I was able to shape the Supreme Court of Florida from being one of the most liberal courts in the nation to being one of the most conservative. Now, my election in 2018 was hard fought. I was one of the top targets of the media, as you would probably guess. And it was a very close election. We knew that the stakes were high because we had very different philosophies on the ballot, but we didn’t know at that time, that one, there would be a pandemic, but two, that the fact that there was a pandemic would give governors the opportunity to seize power, to lock kids out of school for a year, to ruin people’s lives and to shut down their businesses infinitum. And so when COVID hit we had to make a decision about how we were going to handle this in the state of Florida. And as I saw over the initial weeks, but then many months thereafter, state after state, continuing to lock people down, I made the decision that Florida was going to lift people. We are proud that we were the only large state in this country for the entire school year, 100% of our parents were able to send their kid to send their child to school in person. We’re also very proud that I made it the policy of the state, regardless of what any local government thought, that everybody has a right to work and earn a living. And every business has a right to operate and continue with their livelihoods.

The problem I thought which was what you saw in many other states was it’s really easy when you have something like this to take the easy way out and say, you know what, whatever this health bureaucrat says, we’re just going to do it. And then if it doesn’t work out, I’m going to say, ‘hey, the bureaucrat said, I was just following the experts, yada, yada yada.’ Well, I don’t think that’s leadership. I think when you get elected to lead, the people are putting their trust in you to be able to make decisions for the best interests of the state. So we looked at data by ourselves, we didn’t just take people’s word. We questioned assumptions. We questioned these models and we were able to forge a path that not only was better for the state of Florida, but I can tell you if Florida had not done what we did, many other states would not have followed, and we could still be in lockdown in this country right now. You just look at Canada, you look at some of these other places. So ultimately, Florida chose freedom over Fauci-ism and we are better off for it. And even though Florida has been open, as they said, we’ve still have been battling the federal government. For example, the cruise lines have been shut down by CDC for over a year. And so I decided to do something about it. So we brought a lawsuit a couple of months ago in federal court. We were told by the ‘experts’ and people in the media that this was just a stunt, that we had no chance. I’m happy to report, yesterday we won the case against the CDC and we’re opening our cruise lines. We are going to do whatever we can to pry open every last inch of this country and make sure every single industry is able to be open and to thrive.

But, you know, as important as the COVID was all of last year and into this year, one of the major events we had to deal with last summer, were roits all across the United States. And I made a decision, as soon as I saw that, that would not happen in Florida. We were not going to let our cities burn down. We called up the national guard and immediately, we worked with local law enforcement. We were ready. And as a result, we didn’t see the type of devastation that you saw in many of these other cities. But I also understood that this is unfortunately not something that was just a one-off. This is likely something that we continue to see. So we did a couple of things. One I said in the state of Florida, our policy is we back the men and women of law enforcement 100%. And I also proposed that our legislature pass and I signed a few months ago, the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement legislation in the country, which basically says in Florida, we are not going to let any local government defund the police. We’re also going to make sure that people who engage in mob violence are held accountable. I’m sick of seeing things like in Portland, they riot, they get arrested, they have their mugshot taken, they slap them on the wrist and they put them right back on the street to do the same thing all over again. In Florida, if you engage in mob violence, you’re going to jail, and you’re going to stay in jail.

The rule of law is also being challenged by feckless policies of the Biden Harris administration at our Southern border. We had under president Donald Trump, we had a series of policies that worked, those policies upheld the sovereignty of our country. They made sure that our asylum system was not being abused. And everybody saw the results of that. When Joe Biden took office, he reversed those policies, not because there was a legitimate basis to do so in fact. It was because he needed to show that he didn’t like Trump and that he wasn’t going to be like Trump. Well, the result has been a disaster on the Southern border: human trafficking, crime, and drugs pouring into our country. And it’s gotten so bad and the Biden administration has been so reckless that states are now stepping up to secure the border, particularly in Texas and in Arizona and those governors and those states called on all the other governors and all the other states for support in this vital mission. And I’m proud to say Florida was the first state to answer the call. We are gonna’ help secure the border. We don’t want these drugs coming into our country. And we need to act because I can tell you, these cartels are eating Joe Biden’s lunch. And so I’m thankful that the governors are stepping up. What does it say about an administration when the states have to step up and do the jobs that the federal government is supposed to be doing? But nevertheless, this is where we are. And so we’ll do what we can to be helpful.

We are also proud in Florida of having run the most efficient and transparent election in the country in 2020 November. We got eleven million ballots in by midnight, I think it was 99% of the vote had been counted by midnight on election night. President Trump won by almost 400,000 votes. We were able to have a couple of congressional seat pick-ups, state legislature. I mean, it was a good night all around, but particularly for how efficient it was. That’s part of the reason it happens ‘cause we took action very early. When I became the governor, we knew he had problems in Broward and Palm Beach counties. We’ve seen ‘em, we saw it in my election in 2018. So we were able to replace the supervisors down in those two counties. When COVID hit, we did not send out all these unsolicited ballots. We stuck with the program. We followed the rules that were in place, and the result was that it was very effective, but at the same time, and as proud as we are of what we’ve done, I looked around the rest of the country and I saw elections that were horribly administered. I saw a lot of problems. And so I told my legislature, you can’t rest on your laurels. You need to make sure you’re staying ahead of the curve. And so I think they actually showed a clip of it on the intro. About a month ago, month and a half ago, I was able to sign the strongest election integrity reforms, anywhere in the country. We are banning ballot harvesting in the state of Florida. You get one person, one vote, you don’t have these political people taking satchels of votes and dumping them in. We don’t even know where some of these things are coming from. We also ban any unsolicited mail ballots from being sent out. We have absentee by request in Florida. We’ve had it a long time, but we are not going to let these ballots float around in the ether where no one even knows whether some of these people still live at that address anymore. It’s not going to happen in Florida. And finally, and maybe most importantly, given what happened in 2020, the state of Florida has now banned Zuckerbucks. These Zuckerbucks were hundreds of millions of dollars put in by these tech titans and these ‘nonprofit groups.’ And they would actually administer elections in, in parts of the country. It was absolutely insane. I don’t think it had ever been done before. We don’t want that in Florida. And so we put the kibosh on that. There will be no Zuckerbucks in the state of Florida going forward.

It was interesting, though, many of you remember, Georgia did an election bill. They actually did it about a month before Florida did, our bill which is actually stronger than Georgia’s, but Georgia did a bill. And they needed to do one because they had huge problems in the 2020. So they do the bill and the left freaks out, the media freaks out. And then all these businesses, many of these CEOs, that never even read the legislation, they started dumping on Georgia, Major League Baseball moved the all-star game. And so I looked at that and obviously we were doing our package and I just said this. I said, look if you are in one of these corporations, if you’re a woke CEO, you want to get involved in our legislative business. Look, it’s a free country. You know, you want to get in there and slam us or smear me or my legislature or Floridians, it’s a free country, but understand, if you do that, I’m fighting back against you and I’m gonna’ make sure that people understand your business practices and then we’re going talk about what you’re doing and we’ve been very clear about that. We are not going let our state be run by woke corporations. So we passed the bill. I signed the bill. The left had a spasm. The media had a spasm. The businesses didn’t say anything. They didn’t say anything because I think what they do is they think when the left comes after you, the path of least resistance and the way to avoid conflict is just to cave to them and genuflect to whatever they’re asking, even though it’s not based in fact, I think we basically said, ‘actually, you know, if you go down that road, you’re guaranteeing conflict because we will fight back and we will make sure that we’re defending our people, we’re going to defend our legislature, we’re not going to take this lying down.’ And that was really something that was very important to us. That insight was very important to us when we did the bill, I just recently signed it. We did a bill protecting women’s sports. It is discrimination to force our women athletes to compete against biological men. And in the state of Florida we’re protecting those athletes from that discrimination.

But you know, you saw some of this [inaudible], you saw some of these businesses squawk in other states, you saw the NCAA at one point I think said, we’re not going to hold events in any state that protects women’s sports. And I just said, you know what, we’re going to do the right thing in Florida. If you don’t want to hold an event in my state, you know what? I got a lot of events in my state. I’m not worried about that. But honestly, even if there was some event that was so important, I would much rather stand up for the young girls and their aspirations and the fairness and the integrity of their competition. I would much rather stand up for the hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of young girl and women athletes in this state and sacrifice an event. Ok? So be it.

I think what you saw with the responses to some of the election integrity bills, and how some responded to women’s sports. What we have is we have this really, I think, especially a malignant form of leftism, wokeism, that is sweeping many of these institutions, of course, you see it on university campuses. You see it in corporate media, you see it in now big businesses. And so this is something that I think requires us to fight back and fight back hard on. And one of the institutions that is most responsible for elevating woke ideology and for attacking people that share our values is big tech and their censorship and their de-platforming. And so we saw this happening. 10 years ago, big tech was a big threat to the received orthodoxy because it really, they were freer platforms. You could trade information, you could go around the old failed legacy media outlets and do it very effectively. In fact, Trump did it very effectively. He got elected president and they didn’t like that. And so they decided that they would try to be more akin to a council of censors where they are suppressing speech they don’t like. Where they’ll kick you off the platforms. And they’re trying to simply enforce narratives and orthodoxies. And so, whereas big tech, when they first started, we’re really more liberating platforms, now they’re basically an arm of our ruling elite and they have an ideology that tracks almost exactly with whatever the leftist fads of the day are. So the question is, is that just something that you say, you know what they can censor who they want, it doesn’t matter? Now, mind you, these are massive companies. These are companies that exert more power over our daily lives than the monopolies of the early 20th century ever did. And they actually exert in important respects, more power over our daily lives than the government itself. And so, and they get benefits from the federal government in the form of liability protection. And so they are not just your local mom and pop private business. These are common carriers. They control a huge percentage of the political speech in this country. And I believe the people of Florida deserve protection against political censorship by big tech. I think they deserve protection against deplatforming. You have a small business, you use these different platforms? They could just erase you with no due process. Just, look, you went to a Trump rally a year ago, and some sound buddy eat, drinking a soy latte in pajamas at Facebook doesn’t like it and they take you down. That is not going to work. And so I signed the first bill at the state level to hold big tech account. Look, this is going to end up at the Supreme Court, but I can tell you this: Doing nothing is not protecting the freedom of individual Americans. And so we’re happy to lead. But I think it raises a question for some conservatives because some conservatives will say, ‘well, you know, you just, it doesn’t matter, corporations should be able to do whatever they want, you shouldn’t get involved, just get government out of it, you know, don’t worry about it, it’s all about letting corporations basically run the show.’

Now there’s problems with that. One, I’m not sure that’s the best for the economy, but two, if corporations are going to be in charge of all these things in our daily lives, I think it’s a problem for conservatives that they don’t share our values, but here’s the thing. As conservatives, we have to advance public policy that elevates the freedom of the individual over the freedom of the corporation. And that’s what this fight is about. Do we want individuals to be able to speak? Do we want to support that freedom or do we want to support the freedom of massive monopolies to censor views they don’t like? I know which side I stand on. I’m for the average American and the average Floridian who’s trying to fight back against big tech and make their voice heard.

But speaking of not sharing our values, if you look at what’s going on in our country, I don’t think you could discuss the ills of what we see going on without identifying one of the main reasons for that. A very partisan, corrupt, corporate, media, and many of them are based in New York City. They do not tell the truth routinely to the American people. Instead they manufacturer partisan narratives regardless of the facts. And their duty seems to really be trying to gaslight people into believing their narratives rather than to inform them of things that are actually going on. And we’ve seen it time and time again, with all the phony narratives they’ve cooked up, particularly over the last four years, Russia collusion, this or that, they all blow up in smoke and they don’t necessarily have any facts to back them up. We saw it here in Florida recently when we had a very partisan news show, ‘news show,’ ’60 Minutes,’ come down here and try to do a hit job on me. Now they weren’t very good at what they did. I had some leading Democrats come out and say that they were lying and it blew up in their face. But I think it’s very instructive to see someone come down here for three months, try to dig up dirt on me and my administration, ended up putting up a half-baked conspiracy theory that even major Democrats said was a bold face, lie. They knew it was a lie. Okay, people told them the truth on all this, and yet they went ahead and did it anyways. And so that’s what we’re dealing with here. And one of the more recent examples that was very egregious, there was a police shooting in Columbus, Ohio, maybe a couple of months ago now, but within the last couple of months, and it was basically, you had an assailant that was wielding a knife and the officer ended up shooting the person who had the knife and it was interracial, so the media was trying to, to make it about, about racial animus. But NBC News, there was a 911 call and the victim called in and said, ‘Hey, she’s got a knife, she’s coming after me.’ And then they had body camera footage where you see the person wielding the knife. NBC news on their newscast, they played the 911 call and they edited out the portion where they say the assailant has a knife. And then when they showed the video of what the officer saw, they edited out the portion that showed the assailant actually having a knife. So the question is, is why would you edit out the most important features of that? And the reason is simple, because they are trying to drive a narrative. They wanted to put a target on that officer’s back. And they wanted to create a narrative that this was a racist police officer that attacked the assailant because she was a different race. That was a lie, but it was deliberate. And it shows you, they are trying to divide this country with their false partisan narratives. We cannot allow them to set the agenda for this country any longer.

We’ve got to reject their lies and we’ve gotta’ reject [inaudible]. One of the ways I think we can create a better foundation going forward and hopefully produce people that are understanding some of these narratives are for what they are, is we need a renewal of American civics back in our public school system and in our schools. People need to be taught why America was founded, what the principles that made our country unique were, they need to be taught that our rights do not come from government. They come from God. So they need to be taught what makes the country unique. They need to be taught American history, it needs to be factual, needs to be honest, need to talk about of course, many great achievements, many, many great lows, many triumphs, many tragedies, but that needs to be done honestly. And it cannot be infected with ideologies like Critical Race Theory. Treating students based on their race rather than the content of their character is not something we should be putting taxpayer dollars towards. It’s not accurate to pursue history in that regard or civics in that regard. And I’m proud to say, when we started seeing this in different parts of the country, Florida responded, we banned Critical Race Theory in our school systems. We actually had, is Quisha King, where is she, is she here? There she is. Quisha testified when the board of education met, and she started talking about how this was something that was totally unacceptable. I know people, she’s out fielding all the people with their opinions now. But she’s speaking as a mother and it was very good. We put it on some of our social sites but this is what we want. We want to teach kids that working hard, that it’s what matters is not where you came from, but the content of your character, your work ethic and what you’re doing. And if we do that, we are going to produce people that are going to get this country on the right track. If we go down the down the road of indoctrination and smuggling in other leftist ideologies well, we’re just going to continue to see some of the problems that we’re seeing right now. So this is an important fight. Critical race is not limited to schools. I mean, actually this is really sad. The vaccine distribution. So CDC does a recommendation about how the vaccine should be, they have a committee called ACIP. They did a report in November of 2020. I doubt very many governors read it. I did read it. And I’m reading it and the question is we only had so many vaccines that would be coming, who do you prioritize? And how do you make the most impact? And these people who were involved with this said the goal should be, and they didn’t say this explicitly, but this is what it meant. The goal was not to save lives, but for ‘equity.’ And so for me, I looked at COVID. I said, elderly people are at risk. Younger people are very, very low risk. Let’s focus on elderly. They said that the elderly were not ‘racially diverse enough’ and that you should do younger people first and that would be more ‘equitable,’ even though it would have led to more loss of life. So how the heck do you do that? That’s playing politics with public health. And so I was the first governor to reject CDC and their prioritization and we put seniors first in this state. And as a result, we were able to get millions and millions of seniors vaccinated within the first few months of the vaccines coming. But the fact that we were even in that situation where that was a debate, it shows you, this is not just an issue with K-12. This is part of a larger woke agenda. And it’s an agenda that’s going to be very detrimental for our culture going forward if we don’t put a stop to it, which brings me to my final point: When you’re fighting for conservative values, not that it was necessarily ever easy, but I think back when I got into politics, it was almost 10 years ago. And my motivation for getting into politics was to oppose Obama and the Obama administration, right? So you had things like Obamacare, all these things that we were fighting, and they were good fights, and I even wrote a book, which has been read by about a dozen people.

Although now they sell ‘em on eBay for a lot. They didn’t back then, I’ll tell you that. That talked about how the direction we were going was not consistent with the founding principles of the country. And I believed back then, I believe it now and I think those were great fights, but I look back at that and it was almost quaint comparing to what we see now, because what you’re up against, you’re standing for conservative principles, if you actually believe in, in the Judeo-Christian tradition that that this country was built upon. If you believe in the founding principles of the country, you have more opposition now than you have ever faced. Probably anytime in my lifetime, and maybe any time in American history, you have academia is against you. You have big tech, you have corporate media, you have big business, and who knows, sports leagues, everything you can think of. So this woke, this leftism, it’s not representative of the American people, but it has an outside influence in many, many powerful institutions. And so that just means that these are tough fights and you gotta be willing to get into that arena. You are going to get dirty. It ain’t going to be easy. You got to be strong. You got to put on the full armor of God. You got to take a stand, take a stand against the left’s schemes, you got to stand your ground, you got to be firm, you will face flaming arrows, but take up the shield of faith and fight on. So I look forward to joining with you in the battles to come. I can tell you that in the state of Florida, I’ll be holding the line, I’ll be standing my ground, I won’t back down, and I have only begun to fight. Thank you, God bless you, thank you so much.

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