Florida Governor Ron DeSantis encouraged conservatives to “have a backbone” in a speech to Alliance Defending Freedom on Thursday and explained that his efforts to keep Florida as open as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic were part of a desire to choose “freedom over Fauci-ism,” in the face of leftist criticism.
In his speech, DeSantis demanded that conservatives weather hostility from the culture and the media: “that’s what the battlefield looks like.”
“The media will almost assuredly try to smear you, Big Tech may censor you, and big business may even try to boycott you, boycott your state, boycott your jurisdiction, but that’s what you have to be willing to put up with.”
“[A]cademia, corporate media, big tech, big business – all of them adopt in various degrees a leftist, woke perspective in terms of what they want to see,” DeSantis told the crowd. “Most of them are entirely hostile to any type of conservative values or traditional principles. That’s just for sure. So, you know that going in.”
“That’s what the battlefield looks like and if you stand up for the truth, you’re going to face the wrath of these institutions in many respects,” he added. “The media will almost assuredly try to smear you, Big Tech may censor you, and big business may even try to boycott you, boycott your state, boycott your jurisdiction, but that’s what you have to be willing to put up with.”
Conservatives, he added, have to “have the backbone and the wherewithal to be willing to stand for those right things when the going gets tough when the lights get hot when people are throwing stuff at you and are trying to smear you. That is really where I think the rubber meets the road.”
He used his battle to keep Florida free, even as other states were locking down during the COVID-19 pandemic — a decision that kept Florida’s economy humming, even as other states struggled — as an example of standing up to leftist theories masquerading as conventional wisdom.
“You shouldn’t view this through a political lens where you don’t want to make a decision because you’re worried about certain blowback or you’re worried about what the media will say, or you’re worried about all of these extraneous factors,” DeSantis said.
“You take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and you need to be willing to do that without fear or favor and you need to be resolute, and you need to get the job done. Refusing to rule correctly or even to rule at all for fear of any type of extraneous consequences is cowardice, and we can’t have cowardly people in these positions at this moment in our history,” he added.
DeSantis faced sharp criticism from triggered leftists on Wednesday, after releasing a line of campaign merchandise emblazoned with the slogan, “Don’t Fauci My Florida.” But DeSantis positions his approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in direct conflict with White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci’s approach.
“When people [ask] what did you do in Florida?” DeSantis said. “I answer very shortly and clearly: Florida chose freedom over Fauci-ism. I wasn’t about to let the state get Fauci’d,” he added.