Florida Governor Ron DeSantis swung through Fresno County on Monday for a fundraiser lunch with GOP donors, pitching his vision for America a month after he entered the race for president.
Sunshine Governor in the Golden State: Around 50 people joined DeSantis for lunch at Harris Ranch in Coalinga, which was hosted by Harris Farms Chairman John Harris and Richard Spencer, the owner of Fresno-based Harris Construction.
- DeSantis started the day in Sacramento for a morning fundraiser before heading to Coalinga in the late morning. After the fundraiser at Harris Ranch he departed for southern California, where he had two more fundraisers on the agenda Monday evening and more on Tuesday.
- William Bourdeau, the executive vice president of Harris Farms and the chairman of the Valley Future Foundation – the nonprofit that operates The Sun – introduced DeSantis to the group of donors.
- “Today, we stand at a crucial juncture. Our next leader must be someone who understands the value of hard work, who appreciates the backbone of this nation – its farmers, its small business owners, its everyday workers,” Bourdeau said. “Someone who will lead with courage, conviction, and a deep respect for the principles that make this country great.”
What DeSantis said: DeSantis didn’t take much time to go after California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has turned into a political rival as the two have gone back and forth in the media over the last several months and have shown two drastically different ways of running their respective ways.
- Growing up in Florida, DeSantis said he never saw California license plates since the Golden State was a place people aspired to live in.
- “Yet I become Governor, all of a sudden I start seeing all these California license plates, and more importantly my supporters notice all these California license plates, and they were concerned about the voting habits of the people with California license plates,” DeSantis said. “But I must confess the people that are coming to Florida at least, they were coming for the right reasons. They saw that where they had lived, in some cases grew up, had been in some cases ruined like San Francisco by leftist policies. And they were coming to the free state of Florida because they knew we’d do it right.”
- While he’s open to doing a debate with Newsom, who has yet to officially enter the presidential race and challenge Biden, DeSantis argued that he has already won against the California governor.
- “We’ve already had the debate,” DeSantis said. “It’s not that me and Newsom have ever gotten on the stage together, but the debate is basically the result of people voting with their feet and making that decision that has been in one direction fleeing out of California, fleeing into Florida.”
- DeSantis said his administration will make American energy production a priority and not go the route of California, which is banning the sale of new gas-powered cars in 2035.
- “I don’t know how you guys are going to end up with 20 million electric cars on your current power grid,” DeSantis said. “I shudder to even think about that. It’s not going to work, and that doesn’t work, so we need to be doing our own production – as much as we can. We will be by far No. 1 in the world. That will be better for people’s pocketbooks. It will be better for businesses, and it will make us more secure as a country.”
- The Florida governor has been outspoken against what he calls “woke ideology,” and continued that messaging Monday saying that he will wage war against the leftist vision.
- “When woke ideology overtakes criminal justice like we’ve seen in San Francisco and LA, what happens? The average person becomes less safe as a result of that,” DeSantis said. “So when that woke ideology infects institutions, the results are disastrous every single time it’s been tried.”
- DeSantis also addressed the crisis at the southern border, saying he will declare a national emergency on his first day in office to allow the government to move money around to build a wall and deploy the military to prevent cartels from running drugs into the country.
- “I do think we have to look at the Mexican drug cartels as akin to a terrorist organization,” DeSantis said. “They are moving product into this country that is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year and probably going to continue to escalate until we see a change in policy.”
- DeSantis continued, “I think it’s humiliating what’s happening at the border for our country. What type of country would just allow their population to be poisoned with really no pushback? And that’s exactly what’s happened under Biden. I’ll tell you, this is a huge weakness for him in the election. This is an issue that people realize is totally out of control, and they realize that he is either too inept or just unwilling to address.”