CPAC Main Page « Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) Transcript
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
CPAC 2022
Rosen Shingle Creek
Orlando, FL
February 24, 2022

[transcript © 2022 DEMOCRACY IN ACTION |  C-SPAN video]

CPAC.  Let me welcome you to the freest state in these United States.

We were lucky to have CPAC in 2021, and I'm happy to inform you 2021 Florida set an all time record for domestic tourism coming into our state.

And those record numbers include a number of lockdown politicians who lock down their own people, restrict their own people, mandate, governors, mayors, big TV hosts—they criticize Florida and the first chance they get what do they do? They escape to freedom in the state of Florida.
And why do you even these biggest critics and lockdowners come to Florida? Well, I think it's simple. From the very beginning, we refused to let this state descend into some type of Fauchian dystopia where people's freedoms are curtailed, and their livelihoods are destroyed. We protected people's rights. We protected people's jobs. We protected small businesses, and we made sure that every kid in the state of Florida had an opportunity to go to school in person five days a week.

In Florida, we reject the biomedical security state, which erodes liberty, harms livelihoods and divides our society. And we not only reject it if it's government, we have done things like ban vaccine passports and mandates.
Because it's unacceptable to simply subcontract out Fauci-ism to big companies. So we've stood for freedom across the board, and the result has been Florida has defeated Fauci-ism. Freedom has prevailed in the Sunshine State.

And Florida led when it counted. We led early on, when the weight of the world was coming, bearing down on our shoulders. Everything we did, we were taking incoming— I remember the summer of 2020. We had the kids saying you got to go have the kids in school. The teachers unions, they would put coffins outside the Department of Education building in Tallahassee; they sued me to close the school. But we stood strong, and part of the reason we stood strong because we understand what it means to be a leader—not just be a politician that twists in the wind, but be willing to make the tough decisions.

I look back at President Eisenhower's farewell address. Many of you remember it, because he warned about the military industrial complex. That was smart. He was right. But if you read that speech, he also warned about the dangers of a rising scientific and technological elite. Government was funding more scientific research, and he said when that happens, there's a danger that public policy can be held captive by this scientific elite. And he said, the job of the statesman is not to subcontract out your policy to help bureaucrats or other type of bureaucrats. The job of the statesman is to lead, to take all the interests in society and make sure you're doing what's in the public good.

So so many governors over the last two years would simply defer to health bureaucrats because it was a safe thing to do politically. If things went bad, they can say, hey, the bureaucrats told me I had to do this. Yeah, you lost your job. Sorry, your business is done, the kids are locked out of school, but they're telling me I have to do this. That is not what we did in Florida. And we did it when it wasn't popular. We did it when we were taking fire.

And we did it because my duty is to stand up and protect the freedoms and the jobs of the people I represent. And if that puts me in political jeopardy, then so be it. I will stand with them. I'm not going to try to protect my own hide.

And I really believe had Florida not led the way, this country could look like Canada or Australia.

We sometimes take freedom for granted. You should not do that after the last two years. It is contested. The left does not want to honor our freedoms, and we have a responsibility to fight back on all fronts. People are coming to Florida because they want freedom. Even our critics are doing it, but I can tell you there's one fella that just hates Florida and his name is Joe Biden.

He's always criticizing us, always trying to take potshots at Florida, and he does things like take our medication. He stiffed storm victims of relief just because he doesn't like the governor. He doesn't like Florida, and he doesn't like me because we stand up to him. That's why he doesn't like us.

Last year, we call the special session to protect every Florida job from Biden's vax mandates and we succeeded. We've sent people to the Texas border and are suing Biden over his catch and release policy, because he is not following the Constitution by letting our borders be overrun.
We stand up against the weak on crime policy that is ravaging cities across the country and what he supports. And we are standing against his reckless fiscal policies where they printed trillions of dollars, and now we have rampant Bidinflation. The inflation is because of his policies. And we're not going to let anyone forget that So all told, he's had the worst first year of any president since the 1800s.

And as Biden flounders, Florida is leading on issue after issue. We have the largest budget surplus and the lowest per capita tax burden in the entire United States, and no income tax, and we won't have that as long as I'm governor.

When I became governor, Florida had the most liberal state Supreme Court in the country. I've replaced three liberal justices with conservative justices; we now have the most conservative Supreme Court in the country.

Since I became governor, we banned sanctuary cities in the state of Florida.

And we are in the process of getting money from the legislature so that if Biden is dumping illegal aliens into Florida from the southern border, I'm rerouting them to Delaware.

We'll do some in DC and Hollywood as well.

Florida leads the nation in school choice, and we have liberated hundreds of thousands of young kids who are living in poverty to get an education and make the most of life's opportunities.

We in Florida are one of the first states to stand up and protect women's athletics. We're not going to let our young girls and our women athletes have opportunities denied for them because of ideology and political correctness.

We were the first big state to legislate against big tech censorship because they want to silence us they want to de-platform us, and we cannot have a free society If most of the speech in this country is controlled by a handful of left wing oligarchs in Silicon Valley.

We are a law and order state in the state of Florida. We reject weak on crime policies. We reject Soros-funded prosecutors. And we have said, after the 2020 summer riots, we called up the National Guard here immediately, we had law enforcement. We said we are not letting Florida cities burn down and we didn't. But we've also since then signed the strongest anti-rioting legislation in the country. Which says we will not let local governments defund the men and women of law enforcement and put their citizens at risk. And, if you riot in the state of Florida, if you loot, if you are engaged in mob violence, this is not going to be like Portland where they arrest you, take your mug shot, slap you on the wrist, and put you right back on the street to do, to get... Not in Florida, you're not getting a slap on the wrist; you are getting the inside of a jail cell.

Because we will not spend taxpayer money to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other, we have banned CRT in K through 12 education.

And instead, we have the most robust civics education anywhere in the country. We're gonna have citizenship exams for graduating seniors, and we're giving teachers the opportunity to go through a civics boot camp and get a $3,000 bonus. Yes, we're against CRT, but what are we for? I'm for the Constitution, I'm for the Bill of Rights, and we need to have our young people understand what that means.

Because the rule of law is paramount, Florida has done more than any other state in the country to ensure the integrity of our elections. One of the first things I did when I became governor back in 2019, when people weren't talking about election integrity, was accept the resignation of the Broward County Supervisor of Elections and remove the supervisor from Palm Beach County.

We didn't change the rules when COVID came. We followed the law. We counted 99% of the ballots by midnight on election night. It was transparent. It was fair. We did a good job. But we also understood there were a lot of shenanigans in other parts of the country, so last year I signed legislation banning ballot harvesting in the state of Florida. Banning mass mail balloting, unsolicited mail ballots in the state of Florida. And maybe most important we have banned Zuckerbucks in the state of Florida. We're not gonna let a tech titan commandeer the machinery of our elections by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars in for partisan purposes. That will not happen in the state of Florida, and we are doing even more this year.

Now people are coming to Florida, yes to visit, but also just picking up and moving. We have led the nation in net in migration since COVID started. But I can tell you this is not just because we have lower taxes, because we've always had lower taxes. These are people who are fleeing leftist governments in this country and even around the world.

People will sometimes ask me, Governor, all these people are moving here from blue states, are they just gonna vote the same way and make our state a blue state basket case like the states they came from? Well when I got elected governor in 2018, there were almost 300,000 more registered Democrats in the state of Florida than Republicans, and Florida has never had more registered Republicans than Democrats in our history of our state. Today, standing here in February of 2022, there are 82,000 more Republicans registered in the state of Florida.

And it's not just people coming from blue states. There are people that look to Florida as the citadel of freedom who are chafing under authoritarian rule all across the world. I recently got a letter from Samuel from Australia. And he said quote, there isn't much hope right now here and many of us are fearful of what our leaders have in store for us. I look to you and your great State of Florida for hope during this dark time. Thank you for standing up for us. And we have done that. Canadians are writing in, Australia, Europe, you name it. And I think they understand what the stakes are, and they look to us of what protecting freedoms a lot means.

And I think about what the left's trying to do. I got into politics about 10 years ago. I ran for Congress; I'd never been involved. And my mission was largely to stop Barack Obama, who was president at the time. I even wrote a book which was read by about a dozen people that talked about some of the problems, how it was not consistent with the values that the country was founded on. And I stand by that—those were good fights, important fights. But I gotta tell you, I look back at that time, it almost seems a little quaint to me.

Because the threats we face to freedom, the threats we face to a just society are much more pervasive than they were just 10 years ago.

I mean, think of what the left wants to do. What are their political aims?

If they had just elected a couple more U.S. senators, they were going to pack the US Supreme Court.

They were going to make DC a state so they'd have two radical left wing Democrat senators for life.

They were going to abolish the electoral college so California could let elect the president, and they wanted to federalize fraudulent ballot practices.

Now say what you want about that, that is not an agenda that very many American families are sitting across the dinner table from each other saying, oh, man, I wish we could make DC a state or I wish we could pack the Supreme Court.

No, that's not what people have on their mind. They're concerned about gas prices, crime, the border, all the disorder around the world. That's what they're concerned about.

They're doing that though, the left wants to do that because their goal is not to make our country great. It's to marginalize the conservative half of the country. They want us to be powerless. They want us to be voiceless. They want us to be second-class citizen. And what are these ideological aims?

The woke is the new religion of the left. And this is what they have in mind. That's why they want CRT, because they want to divide the country. That's why they removed statues of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, take George Washington's name off schools, because they want to erase that history, they want to delegitimize our founding institutions, and they want to replace that with their left-wing ideology as the foundational principles of our modern day society.

Wokism is a form of cultural Marxism. It is not just about raising taxes, or bad economic policy. It's about tearing at the fabric of our society and trying to replace it with something that will be much, much more sinister.

And the problem that we face as conservatives is a lot of major institutions in our country have become infected with this woke virus. You look at academia. Do we even need to discuss that? Their main objective now is to impose an ideological worldview on the people that come through their universities.

You look at corporate America, they're [inaud.]. They're opposing voter ID. Many of them make a lot of money from Chinese slave labor, but they don't want voter ID in the United States. So they are engaging in woke activism.

You look at our bureaucracy and how totally off the rails they have become in many different agencies. And it's not just limited to people like Fauci; you have it across the board where this has become a major behemoth.

You look at the corrupt and dishonest legacy media in this country and what they're doing to divide us and what they're doing to prop up the regime. They are not in the business of telling the truth. They're in the business of spinning partisan narratives to be able to benefit their side. They don't speak truth to power. They're defending the regime and power and if you speak up, they come after you. They'll smear you, they'll defame ya. All they do day after day, is concoct a blizzard of lies to try to deceive the American people, and make no mistake that's going to intensify leading up to November. They're going to try to do anything they can to relieve the blame off Biden, and to try to fool the American people into keeping Democrats in office. We're not going to let them do it, but that's what we're facing.

And then maybe to top it off, you have big tech. Big tech is now the number one institution for censorship in this country. They are working with the legacy media, they're working with the Biden regime to try to marginalize conservative voices. Anyone that dissents from their orthodoxy is a target.

And so this is significant stuff. This is freedom that's being on all different fronts, that's coming under assault. And so here's where we're at. When you have a society that's veering away from the truth, anybody that stands up and speaks the truth will come under fire. That is going to happen. And so in times like these, there is no substitute for courage, having the courage to stand up against things like cancel culture, having the courage to reject corporate media narratives, having the courage to take on institutions like big tech, having the courage to stand in the way of the Brandon administration.

So we have an opportunity to make 2022 the year that America fought back. We're going to lead the charge here in Florida, but we need people all over the country to be willing to put on that full armor of God, to stand firm against the left's schemes. You will be met with flaming arrows, but the shield of faith will stop them. You will emerge victorious.

And so I can tell you this in Florida, we will be standing our ground, we'll be holding  that line. We are not going to back down. We've accomplished more in this state than anyone thought possible. But I can tell you this, we have only begun to fight. Thank you all. God bless you.