DeSantis delivers campaign-style speech in Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH – Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a campaign speech Thursday in Pittsburgh bragged about his record and said his “fight” was just beginning.
DeSantis spoke at Allegheny County’s annual Lincoln Day dinner in Key Battlefield State. He gave the crowd plenty of talk about red meat, targeting pandemic-related closures, critical race theory and the mainstream press.
A close ally of former President Donald Trump, DeSantis is seen by some as a potential candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential election, having bolstered his profile during the pandemic. The straw poll of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida earlier this year found DeSantis in second place behind Trump. This week, a Politico / Morning Consult poll in the 2024 GOP primary race found Desantis, who is due for re-election next year, third behind Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
The governor launched his speech with a call to “open your states, open your schools [and] take off those mask warrants. “In Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has set the mask mandate to be lifted when 70 percent of adults are vaccinated, with all other mitigation measures to be lifted on Memorial Day.
DeSantis went on to promote new voting measures, riot legislation, and efforts to ban Critical Race Theory from the Florida curriculum.
“As we look forward to the fighting to come, we cannot, in fact we will not go back to the days of the failure of the Republican establishment of yesteryear,” he said. “We’re not going to do this.”
DeSantis saved much of his vitriol for the press, calling for specific coverage from CBS News and NBC News.
“So what I would say to Republicans: don’t seek approval from these people,” he said. “They don’t like you. They’ll mess you up. They’ll attack you. The way to win is to fight and not take it anymore. Don’t let these people set our party’s agenda anymore.”
In conclusion, DeSantis called on participants to “hold on” and teased his future plans.
“Hold the line. Don’t back down,” he said. “And in the state of Florida, with me as governor, I just started to fight.”
Prior to the speech, NBC News was informed by a source present that the event was closed to the press. However, Fox News broadcast the dinner live. Earlier this month, DeSantis drew attention after signing a new live voting law during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”