The Perfect Enemy | Ron DeSantis swipes at Disney, Trump, Newsom during California … - SFGATE
February 17, 2024

Ron DeSantis swipes at Disney, Trump, Newsom during California … – SFGATE

Ron DeSantis swipes at Disney, Trump, Newsom during California …  SFGATE

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brought his national book tour to California this weekend, and had barbs for Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Disney company, former President Donald Trump and federal COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci.

The governor, who is reportedly expected to formally announce a presidential run sometime in May or June, opened his Sunday remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library by saying, “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.” Newsom has repeatedly criticized DeSantis on issues ranging from immigration to education, and ahead of DeSantis’ visit, predicted he’s “going to get smoked by Trump” in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

Trump has been unloading on DeSantis in recent weeks, and DeSantis steered clear of the feud save one portion of his speech, which was a thinly veiled criticism of the former president.

“We understood that we had to have good personnel working in the administration, I laid down the law very clearly,” DeSantis said. “If you have any other agenda but the best interest of the people in Florida and supporting what we were elected to do? Pack your bags and leave because we’re not going to tolerate that.”

One of the main criticisms of Trump from the right is that he allowed “RINOs” (Republicans in name only) such as Mick Mulvaney and Jared Kushner to shape too much of his policy agenda. DeSantis also took a not-so-subtle swipe at the constant knife-fighting that went on during the Trump administration.

“I can tell you in four years, you didn’t see our administration leaking like a sieve, you didn’t see a lot of drama or palace intrigue,” DeSantis said of his first term in office. “What you saw was surgical, precision execution day after day after day. And because we did that, we beat the left day after day after day.”

While Newsom and Trump received indirect swipes, DeSantis went after Disney and Fauci by name.

“I can tell you this, Disney may have gotten everything they wanted in Florida for the last 60 years, but there’s a new sheriff in town now and we are not backing down,” DeSantis said of a recent bill ending Disney’s control of a special tax district around its Orlando resort.

The Florida governor’s attacks on Fauci also served as veiled criticisms of Newsom and Trump, both of whom DeSantis deemed too deferential to health experts during the early days of the pandemic.

“Were you as the governor going to look at everything, consume the data yourself, be mindful of your state’s economic wellbeing, the education of your kids, yes, health in terms of COVID, but also health in terms of every other thing, or were you basically going to subcontract out your leadership to health bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci?” DeSantis asked. “Well in Florida, we were mindful of President Eisenhower warning in his farewell address about the dangers of allowing a scientific technological elite to get ahold of public policy, because Eisenhower observed they don’t see the full picture. They are focused on one narrow aspect, so you consult with that, but a statesman’s got to harmonize all of the different competing interests in society. Fauci doesn’t know anything about the economy, he doesn’t know anything about education, he doesn’t anything about your rights, indeed he doesn’t care about your rights.”

The speech was well-received by the California Republicans in the room, and recent polling has shown DeSantis leading Trump in a California presidential primary. Outside the venue, however, protesters carried signs reading “California rejects fascism” and “Ron DeSantis is a fascist turd.” 

 Protesters rally at the entrance to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in opposition to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was scheduled to speak there on March 5, 2023, in Simi Valley, Calif. 

 Protesters rally at the entrance to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in opposition to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was scheduled to speak there on March 5, 2023, in Simi Valley, Calif. 

David McNew/Getty Images

Someone also spray-painted “Ron DeFascist” on one of the library’s entrance signs ahead of the visit.

DeSantis has also visited Democratic strongholds such as Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City during this book tour. Some political observers have branded it a “soft launch” of his presidential bid.

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