Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has become a high-profile party figure in recent years, particularly throughout his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a recent speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he told the GOP crowd that he has “only begun to fight,” prompting renewed speculation that he plans to mount a 2024 White House bid, Breitbart reported.
“Let people live and thrive”
Upon receiving a warm reception by attendees at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Allegheny County, he covered a range of issues over the course of a half-hour speech.
DeSantis paid particular attention to touting Florida’s pandemic response as a sensible balance between caution and personal freedom.
“All I can say to any state that has not followed suit: Open your state, open your schools, end these mask mandates, let people live and thrive,” the governor said. “When it came right down to it, we chose freedom over Fauci-ism.”
DeSantis’ comment was in reference to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administrator’s top health adviser, who has faced criticism for sending mixed signals in his COVID-19 recommendations.
He went on to advise his own party not to abandon the changes brought on through the campaign and administration of former President Donald Trump.
“I have only begun to fight”
“As we look forward to the fights ahead, we cannot, indeed we will not go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,” DeSantis said. “We are not going to do that.”
Though he did not directly address presidential ambitions of his own, he left his possibilities open, stating: “I can tell you this: in this state of Florida, with me as governor, I have only begun to fight.”
DeSantis went on to castigate much of the mainstream media as disreputable, which is a notable topic for him after CBS News was reportedly caught deceptively editing an interview with the governor for a segment of 60 Minutes.
“So what I would say to Republicans: Don’t seek approval from these people,” he warned. “They don’t like you. They will smear you. They will attack you. The way to win is to fight back and not take it anymore. Don’t let these people set the agenda for our party anymore.”
If Trump declines to seek another term in 2024, DeSantis appears poised to represent the Republican Party’s early frontrunner. Even if Trump does run, he recently confirmed that DeSantis would “certainly” be considered as his running mate.