Fatherlessness is the source of many modern day societal problems, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested in a late May interview, calling on fathers to help their children by being “interested,” “present,” and “setting a good example.”
“If you had every kid in America had a loving father in the home, we would have far, far fewer problems that we would have to deal with as a society,” DeSantis told the podcast First Class Fatherhood in a late May interview.
The governor added: “I do think there are a lot of problems, but if you could just snap your finger and do one thing, and you did this where the fathers were in the home, you would not even need to worry about a lot of these other problems.”
According to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, over 18 million children (one in four children) in the United States do not have a father in their home. DeSantis, whose administration has drawn on these statistics in the past, urged fathers to be present and to spend as much time as possible with their children.
“When my daughter was born, I was a member of congress at the time up in Washington,” he shared. “So I’m looking at myself, I’m sitting up in my office in D.C., wondering, ‘Why the hell am I up here? I really want to be back down.’”
As governor, DeSantis shared that he has a lot more on his plate than he did as a member of congress — but he still finds the job more “family friendly.”
“I can go out and do stuff all day and be home for dinner,” he explained. “Even if I get home late, I see them in the morning. And so part of the reason why I ended up running for governor is because I had two young kids at home, and so if I’m going to do public service I wanted to make sure I can do it in a way that is family friendly.”
“I try to get back for dinner, try to get back to put them to bed, get them up in the morning, and of course doing as many activities with them as possible,” the governor said, describing how he tries to involve his children in his role as governor.
“I brought my son to a multi-city stop one day. We did a bunch of press conferences. The last press conference, he fell asleep on the floor during the press conference, so I had to grab him and take him out,” he shared with a smile. “We do make an effort to involve them and let them be able to see what is really a great state to live in.”
DeSantis’ comments come after he signed legislation in April seeking to support fathers and their children by connecting boys with mentorship programs and men with career services.
That legislation is “tied to nearly $70 million in funding to provide a wide spectrum of family and youth support through the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF),” the governor’s office said in a press release.
— Team DeSantis 🐊 (@teamrondesantis) April 12, 2022
“There are more than 18 million children in our country who live without a father in their home,” DeSantis said at the time. “This has a severe impact on children, and often leads to dropping out of school, crime, and substance abuse. Incredibly, there are those who diminish the importance of fatherhood and the nuclear family – we will not let that happen in our state.”
Tony Dungy, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, attended the bill signing and called the legislation “tremendous,” predicting that it would be “such a good help to fathers in Florida.”
“This bill is so important,” he said at the time. “I want to thank all of the men and women that have been behind this. It is going to allow groups like All Pro Dad and people like those here today to do great things for our fathers here in Florida.”
2 days ago I spoke on behalf of a Florida bill that supports dads & families and it offended some people. 14 yrs ago Pres Obama said the same things almost verbatim. I’m assuming people were outraged at him too. I am serving the Lord so I’ll keep supporting dads and families.🙏🏽🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/7eIemEGe9T
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) April 13, 2022