Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed President Joe Biden on Sunday immediately after Biden spoke at the G7 conference, saying that America’s enemies were watching as Biden displayed passivity and low energy on the world stage.
“I think it’s quite a contrast from his predecessor,” DeSantis told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.” “I think that President Biden is someone that’s much more passive on the world stage, not nearly as assertive as somebody like Donald Trump was. I think his energy level is obviously much lower. And so I think that’s just something that people are sizing up. I think that our adversaries are watching that.”
“I didn’t hear very much in the way of holding China accountable for their role in covering up the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he continued. “I think that’s absolutely essential that China be held accountable for their role in that, as well as any bureaucrats in the United States who may have been covering it up.”
DeSantis also hit Biden on the economy, saying that Biden’s policies were aimed at appeasing European elites but did little to help American workers.
“They were talking economically a lot about other countries, [Biden] was talking about reducing energy production worldwide, and I couldn’t help but think, here in the United States, he’s leaving a lot of people behind,” DeSantis said. “Look at all the workers he left behind by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline. Those were thousands and thousands of very good jobs. And then also think about family budgets, with the sharp increase in gas prices, and then the overall budding inflation that we are seeing that’s being fueled by his big-spending policies. So, I think that his performance probably played well with European elites. Not sure that there was much in it for Middle America.”
MARIA BARTIROMO, SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES ANCHOR: Let me bring in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis now, get some reaction to what we just heard. Governor, thanks very much for being here and standing by throughout our live coverage of the G7 close-out meeting. Your reaction to what you heard from the president?
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Well, Maria, I think it’s quite a contrast from his predecessor. I think that President Biden is someone that’s much more passive on the world stage, not nearly as assertive as somebody like Donald Trump was. I think his energy level is obviously much lower. And so I think that’s just something that people are sizing up. I think that our adversaries are watching that. I didn’t hear very much in the way of holding China accountable for their role in covering up the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think that’s absolutely essential that China be held accountable for their role in that, as well as any bureaucrats in the United States who may have been covering it up. But they were talking economically a lot about other countries. He was talking about reducing energy production worldwide. And I couldn’t help but think, here in the United States, he’s leaving a lot of people behind. Look at all the workers he left behind by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline.
DESANTIS: Those were thousands and thousands of very good jobs. And then also think about family budgets, with the sharp increase in gas prices, and then the overall budding inflation that we are seeing that’s being fueled by his big-spending policies. So, I think that his performance probably played well with European elites. Not sure that there was much in it for Middle America.
BARTIROMO: Yes, we will hear more about his plans for taxes. He wants to have a global minimum tax of 15 percent. In some economies, that would actually be a tax increase, if you look at a place like Ireland. So, we will get more on that. But one study struck me before I was coming on the air with you. And this was about Florida. And it says the average taxpayer who moved to Florida from the other 49 states had an average income — this is an average gross income of $110,000, which is about twice the average household income. Of course, you don’t have income tax in Florida. And it’s actually helped your economy. Tell us — assess the economy right now in Florida. And tell us what you have seen over the last year in terms of an increase in population.
DESANTIS: Well, sure, Maria. I mean, before COVID, we had seen by far the highest amount of wealth move into Florida compared to any other state. But I think that’s accelerated since COVID. I think you’re seeing a lot of people move here. Obviously, we have a very favorable tax climate. Florida is the lowest per capita tax burden, individual tax burden, in the country. And we are very proud of that. That has led, obviously, to more businesses moving here. So we have got a lot of great things, I think, on the horizon. But it’s a lesson in how you do this. You tax people, you attack business, you do all of those things, in a country like ours, it’s very mobile. People vote with their feet. And so what we have been able to do is, with low taxes and a favorable environment, we end up taking in more revenue than we probably would if we had higher taxes because of the underlying dynamism of the economy.
BARTIROMO: Yes, it’s incredible.
You have been doing so much, Governor. I want to get into some of your moves.
And let me start with the bill that you just signed to stop the censorship of Floridians. Last week on this program, we went through the Fauci Facebook files, where it’s clear, based on e-mails between Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Anthony Fauci, they were coordinating in terms of what should be reported on Facebook and what shouldn’t be. Facebook took down many posts about the origins of COVID-19, only to have egg on its face when they had to change the policy again. Do you believe Fauci colluded with Mark Zuckerberg? Does this expose Facebook to legal action, which, of course, is what Senator Ted Cruz told us last week?
DESANTIS: Well, you pointed out something important, Maria.
What they censored was actually true. They called it a conspiracy theory if you said this may have leaked from the lab. They were also censoring around the same time last year any criticisms of lockdowns. And we know now lockdowns didn’t work. States like Florida that were open were better off for it. And so you often hear people say, hey, these are private companies, they can do what they want, yadda, yadda, yadda. But here’s an example of working with Fauci where Facebook, you could argue, is essentially acting as an arm of the state, because they’re suppressing what the government wants suppressed. And so I think this issue with big tech is unlike anything we have seen. They have massive amounts of power. These are monopolies that are much stronger than the monopolies of the early 20th century. They control, in effect, a handful of companies, a huge percentage of the political speech in this country. And so I think, when you have a situations, they’re not just censoring based on partisanship. Obviously, we have seen conservatives be censored. But when they’re censoring things about some of the most important issues that we have ever addressed, how COVID started, whether lockdowns work…
DESANTIS: … you know they’re really doing damage to society.
BARTIROMO: Yes, they have suddenly believed — come to believe that they are the arbiters of truth. And many of the things that they’re censoring are, in fact, true, as you say. Is Florida considering — is Florida considering legal actions against Facebook?
DESANTIS: Well, I know that the state’s already involved in some of the multistate litigation that predated those revelations. I mean, obviously, I would support any ways that we can vindicate the rights of individual Floridians to be able to converse about public issues. Now, our bill is the first of its kind. It really tracks what Justice Clarence Thomas laid out in his — one of his concurrences a few months ago, where these companies really are more akin to common carriers. And so they should be treated as such. And our view is, is, yes, you can have certain, obviously, guidelines or however you do it, but you have got to apply it evenly. And if you don’t, you’re advertising as an open platform, you’re saying you’re not publishers, but then you’re acting as publishers by stifling speech you don’t like, that’s a fraud on the consumer, and people deserve to be able to vindicate their rights in court.
BARTIROMO: I mean, this censorship feels like communist China. You have talked about big tech and its relationship to the Chinese Communist Party. You have been researching this.You say that the lockdown approach that was led by the Democrats was promoted by the CCP. Tell me about that.
Before I do, I would just point out, when we signed the big tech bill, I had folks who had fled communist Cuba speaking about how important it was. I had people that fled socialist Venezuela talking about how important it was to combat censorship, because they lived through really bad periods of censorship. You look at how big tech has handled the CCP, they are very deferential to the Communist Party of China. And I think that China was very much invested in promoting lockdowns as we started getting into 2020, February, March. Obviously, Italy, those Italy lockdowns were very much patterned off what we saw in Wuhan. And Facebook and some of these big companies, they were really serving to elevate the lockdown hysteria and to absolutely suppress people who were raising questions and concerns about lockdowns. And the reason why that’s so — I think, so galling is because, up until COVID, public health guidance was never, in a pandemic, to just lock down indefinitely. This was kind of a new invention that was really fueled by the Chinese experience. And so I think the relationship between big tech and the CCP is very problematic and, quite frankly, a lot of these big corporations, particularly in entertainment and some of these other fields of the American economy.
BARTIROMO: And I wonder if it starts with academia, Governor. You heard President Biden say that he wants more transparency from China. But we really haven’t seen a tough stance in terms of U.S. policy on China. In fact, just this week, President Biden revoked President Trump’s ban on TikTok and on WeChat. I know that you have talked about the CCP infiltrating Florida universities. You have got Confucius centers. This is a very important point. And I want you to talk about what you’re doing, these two bills that you just signed, in terms of stopping the influence, foreign influence in universities, because the CCP has been able to get inside of important institutions in this country and steal data. We know that Secretary Pompeo has said they are now inside the gates. There was a string of indictments in 2020 by the Pompeo State Department, everyone from a — the head of the biology department at Harvard, to an NYPD officer, to shutting down the embassy in Houston. They do get inside of our institutions. What can you do to stop it? And tell me about those Confucius centers in Florida.
DESANTIS: So, we did two bills, one to combat foreign influence specifically targeted at the CCP, as well as corporate espionage, which also is generally targeted at the CCP, because they’re the worst offenders. So, we actually had a Confucius Institute that was done at Miami-Dade College. Fortunately, when I became governor, we looked at that, and we had the college get rid of it. However, this is something, I think, that’s going to be a continued concern. So, our bill we signed basically bans things like Confucius Institutes from getting a foothold on Florida universities. And I think that’s really important. But, as you document, there — it seems like, every other week, there will be some academic researcher who’s identified as having ties with the CCP. People get indicted. People flee America once they’re — once they’re found out about this.
DESANTIS: And so we’re really trying to scrutinize what’s going on in these universities inside Florida. We also want to protect trade secrets from our businesses and all that, because CCP infiltration there has been very, very prominent throughout the country. But, man, these academia, there’s deep ties in many segments of academia with the Communist Party of China.
BARTIROMO: I want you to hear President Biden talk about Xi Jinping recently. I was astounded at these comments. And, again, we still do not have a clear understanding of what Biden’s policy is on China. Here he is just a few weeks ago.
Watch this, Governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have spent more time with President Xi of China than any world leader has for 24 hours of private meetings with him with just an interpreter, 17,000 miles traveling between China and here.
He firmly believes that China, before the year 3035 (sic) is going to own America, because autocracies can make quick decisions.
But America is unique. Of all the nations in the world, we’re the only nation organized based on an idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: So that’s it, Governor.
DESANTIS: Yes, I mean, it’s really astounding. But I tell you, this — origins of COVID, this is such an astounding cover-up, one of the biggest cover-ups we have ever seen, and probably in the history of our country, that we have dealt with in terms of what they did with the gain of function research, understanding that these researchers had been infected in the fall of 2019, and then to cover it up for months, and then to not be — view that as something that’s of utmost importance to be able to, one, get the truth, but then to hold China accountable.
They caused immense damage throughout the world by allowing this virus to be unleashed on the rest of the world. And so to be that deferential to China, I don’t think that’s what the American public is looking for. I think that they want to see a policy from the United States that’s more assertive against China…
DESANTIS: … that understands China is a threat. They’re an economic competitor, but they’re also a threat in terms of what they’re trying to achieve militarily.
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