From The Las Vegas Sun:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke before several hundred attendees at a Las Vegas country music bar Saturday to promote his book, marking the second stop in battleground states in as many days as the conservative is believed to be considering a 2024 presidential run.
DeSantis, 44, spoke to upwards of 1,200 people at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country, a common meeting place for many visiting Republican hopefuls just south of the Las Vegas Strip. He took the stage just after 5 p.m. and discussed his 20-point landslide win for a second term for governor in November, and touted Florida as a “blueprint” for conservatism that could be followed elsewhere around the nation.
The governor began his remarks asserting residents from California and other liberal states have been fleeing in mass exodus to states like Florida to escape “leftist ideologies.” He claimed many Californians have moved to his state since taking office, and said he felt pity for Nevadans, who have been dealing with an influx of Californians for years.
“I grew up in Florida, born and raised, and never in my life until I became governor did I see California license plates in the state of Florida,” he said. “And I can tell you, Floridians were really spooked by it.”
DeSantis was introduced by former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who was the governor’s roommate when they were training to become officers in the U.S. Navy in the early 2000s. DeSantis was last in Las Vegas last year to campaign for Laxalt, who narrowly lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto last November.
Laxalt described DeSantis as a patriotic man who enlisted in the years that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Laxalt also recalled DeSantis’ days at Yale, where he played baseball and received his undergraduate degree, and where he showed up to campus wearing “jean shorts and flip-flops.”
“Who would have imagined just a couple of decades later, he’d go on to become one of the most consequential governors in all of our lifetimes,” Laxalt said. “Every time someone has tried to restrict liberty and freedom, he stood up every time.”
The event was hosted by And To The Republic, a nonprofit led by Michigan conservative politics strategist Tori Sachs, that held similar speaking engagements for DeSantis earlier this week in Florida and Iowa, the first state to hold its Republican presidential contest, Jan. 8, 2024.
Nevada is fourth in the GOP nomination calendar, with its primary scheduled for Feb. 6, 2024. That’s behind only Iowa, New Hampshire (Jan. 16, 2024) and South Carolina (Jan. 27, 2024).
DeSantis touted the action his administration has taken to reform K-12 and higher education in Florida by signing into law bans on the teaching of “critical race theory” and diversity, equity and inclusion. Public learning institutions for years, DeSantis asserted, have been “injecting” pupils with social and political agendas from the left.
He also bragged about reigning in Disney, and other companies for imposing “woke” culture on Americans. Last year, DeSantis and the Florida Legislature — in which the GOP has voting control of the state senate and house — passed sweeping legislation that stripped the Walt Disney Corporation of its ability to self-govern, a power given to Disney since 1967.
DeSantis also disparaged public health measures like mask wearing and social distancing that became widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic, and contended the pandemic’s origins started in a lab in Wuhan, China, echoing what was once considered a far-right conspiracy theory but in recent weeks have also been asserted by U.S. intelligence and other federal agencies.
Those public health measures taken especially early in the pandemic were designed to exert power over powerless constituents, DeSantis said. He advocated that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other “medical bureaucrats” who led the U.S. pandemic response as director of the National Institutes for Health were “held accountable for their actions.”
That received a resounding ovation from the crowd.