Highlights from Ron DeSantis’ campaign rollout

After a 30-minute delay caused by a technical glitch with Twitter’s “Spaces” audio conversation system, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ much-publicized announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign drew praise from one billionaire to another.

First billionaire, venture capitalist and DeSantis booster David Sachs opened the conversation with full praise for Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX impresario who bought Twitter last year with the aim of allowing unfettered conversations by right-wing characters of all kinds. It has been banned for violating site rules under its former administration.

Mr. Sachs then introduced Mr. DeSantis, who said he first caught his attention when Florida’s governor began attacking public health measures recommended by medical professionals at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And with that, Mr. DeSantis begins making his pitch to voters — or at least to voters who are on Twitter and care enough to listen.

Here are some key takeaways.

Attacks on the press are expected to be a main focus of Mr DeSantis’ campaign

Like most Republicans, Mr. DeSantis has made bashing reporters a part of his everyday stump speech.

As governor, his press team was notorious for attacking reporters who wrote stories that offended the governor, with many such reporters receiving death threats as a result.

Mr. DeSantis, who rarely takes questions from the press, made clear that breaking down journalistic institutions and undermining the idea that news outlets act in good faith to deliver news would be a centerpiece of his campaign.

The governor framed his opposition to mainstream journalism as support for “telling the truth,” citing the “blowback” he received from the media on opening up his state during the pandemic.

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“There was a concerted effort to try to suppress dissent. There’s an official narrative about school closures, about forced masking, and all these different things that we had to navigate during Covid, and it’s being implemented by major tech platforms in conjunction with the federal government There was conservatism,” he said.

He later accused the “legacy media” of “collusion” with civil rights groups such as the NAACP to “manufacture a narrative” about the policies, which prompted the group to recently say that Florida is not safe for black Americans.

“I would just say as an American citizen, if you are uncritically accepting the narratives being run by the legacy media and leftist groups, then you are failing in your job of being a conscientious citizen,” he said.

she surrounded herself with spoons

When it came time to take questions from the audience, who had actually gathered to hear him announce his candidacy, Mr. DeSantis’ choice of interlocutors was telling.

Instead of taking questions from ordinary people taking the time to listen to a man who aspires to be the next President of the United States, the people chosen to take questions were well-known right-wing activists and online personalities, including Some of them have worked with him or currently work with him in Florida.

The first to ask a question was Stanford Medical School professor Dr. Jai Bhattacharya, who gained fame in right-wing circles for advocating a “herd immunity” strategy during the Covid-19 pandemic that would have seen millions of Americans knowingly contract it. virus long before any vaccine was approved for it.

Next up was Kentucky Representative Thomas Massey, a libertarian-leaning Republican, who, like other panelists, devoted part of his remarks to praising Mr. Musk for buying Twitter, before asking how Mr. DeSantis was working with federal agencies. would limit the power of politicians who conservatives believe are biased. Them.

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He also questioned Steve Dees, an Iowa radio host who has questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who helped DeSantis take over with the aim of turning Florida’s New College into a right-wing educational Is. Citadel, and right-wing radio commentator Dana Loschek, who previously worked for the National Rifle Association’s defunct NRA TV streaming service.

His rhetoric largely reflects the concerns of the online right

From his attacks on “legacy media” to his promise to ban central bank digital currency – something that doesn’t exist in the United States – and prevent banks from turning away customers because of their political viewpoints, Mr. DeSantis focused on the issues. discussed, they largely track those who animate the right-wing commentators who dominate Twitter discourse under Mr. Musk.

He attacked the Federal Reserve and the Justice Department for allegedly furthering the “debanking” of conservatives, and claimed that banks are “colluding” to prevent Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

“I just signed an anti-ESG law that says there’s no ESG standards and our pension fund we’ve got a $180 billion state pension fund, there’s no social credit score for consumers when they’re going to the bank In other words, if you apply for a loan, a loan should be judged on the basis of your creditworthiness, not because of the reasons you left behind,” he said.

Mr. Musk also spoke of the threat to America from the “awakening mind virus” – a phrase Mr. Musk and other online conservatives use to describe progressive beliefs because they believe it is a form of social contagion. form.

He wants to destroy most of the things that make up the modern American system of government

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Mr. DeSantis also spent part of his remarks describing how he wanted to discredit federal agencies, including the FBI, if they could not be brought into line with conservative ways of thinking.

Asked how he would crack down on recalcitrant agencies, he replied: “I understand the various leverage points that you would have under Article Two of the Constitution. I studied many people becoming governor about Florida’s constitution saying the same thing for the federal constitution and you have to know what your leverage is to advance what you are trying to achieve how to use.

He also threatened that the Department of Education would establish new criteria to accredit colleges and universities, whether they refuse to engage in practices to promote diversity or teach so-called “woke” curricula, and that President Joe Biden has, to reverse most of them. since taking office, including his immigration policies.

Additionally, Mr. DeSantis voiced support for the REINS Act, a Republican-backed bill that would let Congress override any decision by a regulatory agency that most members dislike, and suggested that the Supreme Court Overturn a decades-old decision that says courts should defer to the agencies’ experts when they interpret ambiguous laws.

“I also think we have a good chance to actually reduce or maybe even eliminate some of the Chevron Difference based on upcoming jurisprudence from the US Supreme Court, and I think that’s another reason why bureaucracy is so powerful.” Because the courts have basically been told they can do pretty much whatever they want, and the courts should just defer,” he said. “I don’t think that’s really right. I think it’s up to the courts to decide what the law actually says, you can’t defer to bureaucratic experts just to quote unquote.


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