Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis hinted Thursday at a potential timeline for when he may announce a 2024 presidential campaign, should he decide to run.
DeSantis made the remarks during a Fox News appearance on “America’s Newsroom” about his new book and what future political plans he has.
When asked about what former President Donald Trump’s endorsement means in the current political environment, DeSantis responded that “at that time when he was president, his [endorsement] was the big enchilada.”
“I think our voters always make their own decisions,” DeSantis said. “Our voters want to look at you and size you up. And they take this responsibility very, very seriously.”
When asked about the “Make America Florida” chapter in his book and what his timeline is for making a decision about running in 2024, DeSantis pointed to first delivering results for the millions of Floridians who have given Republicans in the state historic levels of power with supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
“So we’re going to have a three month run here where I think we’re going to be able to deliver more than we’ve already delivered,” DeSantis said. “And we’ve delivered more than just about anyone. And I think that that’s going to be something that — you win the election, it’s vindication for the four years.”
“So that’s going to be my focus, then when we get on the other side of that, assuming we’ve been successful, we’ll take a look at what that would mean for national,” he added.
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PERINO: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis … welcome, your book is doing extremely well. And congratulations on that. It’s called “The Courage to be Free.” So welcome this morning.
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: Thanks. Good to be with you guys.
PERINO: So I wanted to ask you about something that actually came up yesterday from President Biden, he was at the House Democratic retreat, and he is repeating a familiar refrain that he’s going to use against Republicans listen to President Biden here.
BIDEN: During this day to you now is pleased to see so many regular Republicans stand up when I asked him to join us in rejecting cuts in social security. … All stood up. But the interesting thing is, they won’t be able to forget, it’s all on camera.
PERINO: I want to know how you, as the governor of Florida, might react to that. And also there’s news that a bipartisan group is looking — on Capitol Hill — is looking at the possibility of suggesting a gradual increase in the age to get Social Security to 70 years old.
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: Well, you know, Biden, when he was in the Senate, I mean, he took a lot of positions that would have reduced social security benefits for current recipients, he wanted to freeze Social Security payments, which as you know, if you have inflation would cause seniors to lose ground. Look, I have more seniors here than than just about anyone as a percentage. You know, we’re not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans. I think that that’s pretty clear. If you look at the last five or six years, Dana, we’ve had an unprecedented binge in discretionary spending. You know, there’s a lot of the budget, people used to say they would blame Social Security or Medicare for budget woes, but the reality is they have printed trillions and trillions of dollars. And that has really fueled the inflation. And not only that, that discretionary spending is funding agencies that are doing things that are hostile to the rights of the American people, and have really been weaponized against factions of society that the elite ruling class doesn’t like.
HEMMER: Governor, congrats on the book, it’s selling well, I think you’re well aware of that. On page 81, you talk about your first victory as Governor 2018. That was a close race over Andrew Gillum. You describe it as the most consequential in Florida history. [That’s] saying a lot — you also give a nod to Donald Trump and the support that he gave you during that campaign. He has talked about that in different venues in different ways since then. In 2023, how much do you believe a Trump endorsement matters in American Republican politics today?
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: You know, I don’t know. I mean, I think our voters always make their own decisions. And they consider obviously endorsements. And at that time when he was president, his was the big enchilada. But our voters want to look at you and size you up. And they take this responsibility very, very seriously. But when I wrote that in the book about the consequential — the fact is, there was a big difference between me and my Democratic opponent 2018. I mean, you couldn’t probably have been any different. And that would have been consequential no matter what. But then when we had the COVID pandemic, you would have had a difference between how I guided Florida and a governor that would have done and replicated the California-Illinois models. And we’ve seen, those models cause people to flee those states to Florida. So I don’t think we would have been able to survive the way those states handled it. And I think the way we did it, you know, we’re booming, Bill, we’re the number one fastest growing state leading in net in-migration, record budget surplus, low taxes, full employment — in fact, a point and a half below the national average. And I think it all goes back to that election. And now, just as Republicans, what have we done with Florida? When I got elected, it was a one point race almost every election between governor and president. We were able to go from winning by 32,000 votes to winning by over 1.5 million votes, sweeping Hispanics by over 60%, winning Miami Dade County by double digits. But we have built in an infrastructure for Republicans to where Florida it should no longer be considered a swing state. I mean, this is a state that we have the strong advantage in now.
PERINO: You mentioned the strength of your economy and what you think you’ve been able to do there in Florida, and you have a lot of results. When you look ahead, do you think that somebody like you as governor could then maybe run and take that blueprint and make Florida’s model resonate across the United States?
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: Well, I think there’s a couple things from the book that I point out. One is, you know, we were really going against elite opinion on a lot of the things we were doing, the corporate press, the Left would attack us. But we were taking on issues that had broad resonance across party lines, parents rights in education, fighting the woke ideology and woke indoctrination, standing up for law and order. That’s one of the reasons why I actually won a lot of single moms in our election, because we were doing that. So I think there’s a strong anti-woke majority out there across the country. And I think it’s one of the reasons why Florida stories resonate. I also point out, we had a specific approach to leadership, where I didn’t take a poll, my entire time as governor, about issues, I wanted to lead, I would produce results. And I was confident that people would back me if the results were good. So many elected officials get captive to the polls, when really a leader’s job is to lead public opinion and get out in front of it. And then I think the second thing that we did is, we had personnel working for us who believed in the mission, and anybody who didn’t, if anyone tried to leak or do anything, we got rid of them. And really, for the last four years, I didn’t have a single leak in my administration, and you could have the best vision in the world, make the best decisions as the executive, if you don’t have people that will carry out that and implement it, then it’s not going to amount to very much — so we had that. So when I would come out and announce our next step, people could take it to the bank that would be executed quickly. And the results would follow
HEMMER: You had a state House that was favorable toward you. And a lot of people would argue, you know, once you get those votes, you can pass a lot of things. And I think there will be news out of Tallahassee in the coming days and weeks because of that. But on Dana’s point here, the last chapter in your book is only six and a half pages long, I think is the shortest chapter. But the title is Make America Florida. Now, in your view, what does that look like? And in your timeline?
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: Part of the reason we did that bill is because—
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: Sure, so part of the reason I titled it that is because as we got to the end of 2020, you start to see the hats and shirts and flags in Florida, and even in other states, and I had nothing to do with it. This was all organic, where people were basically saying, hey, the country, you know, it has problems. Obviously, we’ve seen that over the last two years. But Florida can do it right. Why is it that Florida can do it right? And we have other good Republican states that can do it right — but yet the Biden model is failing our country, it’s failing states like Illinois, and California. What is it about Florida? And so, you know, we talked about some of those things. But I think it’s been a leader to not only be a model for other states, I do think it could be nationally. And so we’re going to be working through over the next few months, as you said, have the legislature — now I didn’t always have such a favorable legislation, we came in, we had a narrow Senate Majority, we were able to get a lot done. Now we have supermajorities in the legislature because we had such a good 2022 election. So we’re going to have a three month run here where I think we’re going to be able to deliver more than we’ve already delivered. And we’ve delivered more than just about anyone. And I think that that’s going to be something that — you win the election, it’s vindication for the four years. And I was glad to do that, because a lot of people wrote me off during COVID when we were charting our own course. But it really gives you an opportunity to do this. So that’s going to be my focus, then when we get on the other side of that, assuming we’ve been successful, we’ll take a look at what that would mean for national.
HEMMER: Well, sounds like late summer. Am I right?
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: Well, I don’t know. I mean, you know, I definitely could come on your show between now and then and talk about some of the legislation I’m going to be signing over the next few few months. If you guys are interested. Just let us know. We’d love to do it.
PERINO: I think that the entire country will be interested in watching that and they’re also obviously they’re reading your book as well. Governor, thank you for joining us this morning.
GOVERNOR DESANTIS: Thank you.