During his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Governor DeSantis criticized Governor Newsom's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in California, particularly his approach to school closures and restrictions on businesses.
Governor DeSantis also highlighted Florida's approach to the pandemic, including the state's decision to keep schools open for in-person learning and to prioritize vaccines for vulnerable populations. The remarks by Governor DeSantis were seen by some as a possible preview of the 2024 presidential race, as both governors are considered potential candidates for their respective parties.
“I knew you guys got a lot of problems out here, but your governor is very concerned about what we’re doing in Florida, so I figured I had to come by,” DeSantis said to begin his speech.
DeSantis is in California hammering Newsom:
"I know you've got a lot of problems out here, but your governor is very concerned about what we are doing in Florida so I figured I had to come by." pic.twitter.com/MYDFbgfa1a
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 5, 2023
During the speech, the main focus was on his recently published book, "The Courage to be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival," and his perspective on the future of the country.
According to The Sacramento Bee, notable figures such as former Governor Pete Wilson and actor Gary Sinise were among the audience members present during the speech. Fox News also reported that the event was attended by over 1,300 people.
“I think if you look over the last four or five years, and you look at the performances of individual states, and you compare Florida versus California, New York, Illinois, some of those other states, we have had a great experiment, a great test in governing philosophies,” DeSantis said. “Because, of course, you know, we approach things much differently in Florida than you guys have out here, much differently in Florida than they’ve done in New York and in Illinois.”
“And if you look over the last four years, we’ve witnessed a great American exodus from states governed by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideology and delivering poor results, and you’ve seen massive gains in states like Florida, who are governing according to the tried and true principles that President Reagan held dear,” he continued. “From the beginning of this state’s history, all the way until the last four or five years, people beat a path to California. You didn’t beat a path away from California. And yet now, you see the state hemorrhaging population.”
Governor DeSantis also criticized Governor Newsom's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in California.
“I can tell you, we had families move from the Pacific coast just for the fact that we had schools open in Florida, when you didn’t have them open in many other states,” he said. “We did things like ban vaccine passports in the state of Florida. States said, ‘You want to go stay in a hotel, go to a restaurant, you got to cough up your vax papers on these mRNA shots.’ And we said that’s none of their business. Everyone has a right to participate in society. That’s a personal choice that you make whether to take that or not, and we’re not going to let you be excluded.”
“Now, what ended up happening because we did that, one of the things that ended up happening was in 2021, Florida set a record for domestic tourism,” he said. “If you compare the change in tourism in California from 2019 to 2021, California tourism declined by 22%.”
Last week, Politico stated that California is expected to have a significant impact on the outcome of the race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, given the current shape of the race.
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