Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis slammed California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday while visiting the state for his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
“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,” DeSantis said at the start of his speech.
The speech centered around his top-selling new book, “The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” and his vision for the country.
The Sacramento Bee reported that there were high-profile attendees in the audience for the speech, including former Governor Pete Wilson and actor Gary Sinise. Fox News reported that more than 1,300 people attended the event.
“I think if you look over the last four or five years, and you look at the performances of individual states, and you compare Florida versus California, New York, Illinois, some of those other states, we have had a great experiment, a great test in governing philosophies,” DeSantis said. “Because, of course, you know, we approach things much differently in Florida than you guys have out here, much differently in Florida than they’ve done in New York and in Illinois.”
“And if you look over the last four years, we’ve witnessed a great American exodus from states governed by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideology and delivering poor results, and you’ve seen massive gains in states like Florida, who are governing according to the tried and true principles that President Reagan held dear,” he continued. “From the beginning of this state’s history, all the way until the last four or five years, people beat a path to California. You didn’t beat a path away from California. And yet now, you see the state hemorrhaging population.”
DeSantis also took a shot at Newsom over how California was managed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can tell you, we had families move from the Pacific coast just for the fact that we had schools open in Florida, when you didn’t have them open in many other states,” he said. “We did things like ban vaccine passports in the state of Florida. States said, ‘You want to go stay in a hotel, go to a restaurant, you got to cough up your vax papers on these mRNA shots.’ And we said that’s none of their business. Everyone has a right to participate in society. That’s a personal choice that you make whether to take that or not, and we’re not going to let you be excluded.”
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“Now, what ended up happening because we did that, one of the things that ended up happening was in 2021, Florida set a record for domestic tourism,” he said. “If you compare the change in tourism in California from 2019 to 2021, California tourism declined by 22%.”
DeSantis later slammed the ideology behind politicians like Newsom. “I think these liberal states have gotten it wrong and why are they getting it wrong? I think it all goes back to ideology,” he said. “And it goes back to this woke mind virus that’s infected the left and all these other institutions. I mean, think about the way they have governed their states.”
Politico reported last week that given how the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination is shaping up, California would likely play a key role in determining who becomes the party’s nominee.