In Calif. speech that draws protests, DeSantis stokes fight over pandemic

Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Sunday. He accused blue state leaders of being “lockdown politics” and claimed that the coronavirus crisis in the country had “made it difficult to govern philosophies.”

DeSantis spoke to a packed audience with nearly 1,300 tickets purchased and 1,100 people in attendance. He highlighted Florida’s leadership in net migration, even though it was a trend that began long before he became governor.

“We have seen a huge American exodus away from leftist-led states that impose leftist ideologies on their citizens and deliver poor results. DeSantis stated that you can see huge gains in states such as Florida, which are governing by the tried-and-true principles that President Reagan believed were right. DeSantis stated that Americans “voted with our feet,” leaving blue states as large numbers increased in Florida.

Many experts argue that the shift in migration patterns, especially from West Coast states, is due to the availability of affordable housing and the increased flexibility offered by the pandemic for work-from home or hybrid arrangements. DeSantis’s comments were the latest example of DeSantis advancing arguments to defend his record in Florida, which sometimes conceals much more complex debates.


DeSantis spoke inside the museum’s glass pavilion, where he stood under the Air Force One plane carrying Reagan and six other presidents. It was billed as a promotion of his book, “The Courage to Be Free” but also served as an audition for GOP voters for a governor who many believe will enter the presidential race. California could play an important role in the selection of the next president in California’s unusually early presidential primaries on March 5.

The governor of Florida did not spend any time with the crowd, and he did not answer questions from California media.

DeSantis noted that Florida’s low taxes and penchant for small government have been a draw to the Sunshine State. He said that the pandemic caused people to “reevaluate who is responsible for their state government more than any other events in my lifetime.”

He said that Florida was a haven for sanity and a beacon of freedom in the United States, as well as around the globe, when common sense became an uncommon virtue. DeSantis spoke in a state in which some schools were closed for longer periods than any other in the country during the pandemic. He received applause when DeSantis said that he had made sure all schools in his state were open in 2020 for instruction in person.

He boasted about Florida’s “empowered people” regarding vaccinations. “Nobody in Florida was going to have to decide between the job they need and the shots that they don’t want to take,” said he to applause.

Although DeSantis was once supportive of coronavirus vaccines, his tone has shifted to a negative one since 2021. He suggests that vaccine manufacturers should be investigated for fraud and rejects the approach taken by bureaucrats trying to enforce vaccine mandates. As he prepares for the election, he has made his position clear as offering people the option of choosing what they want.

Although Simi Valley is traditionally Republican-leaning, around 100 people protested at the library’s entrance waving Biden and rainbow flags just before the Florida governor arrived. Some shouted that DeSantis was a fascist. A sign at the Reagan Library’s entrance was vandalized by someone writing “Ron DeFascist” in black spray paint, according to the Simi Valley Police Department.

DeSantis representatives did not respond immediately to a request to comment on the criticisms he received.

He was there for a book signing, which was restricted to 100 people only and closed to media. He was seated next to Pete Wilson, the former governor of California. He waved to the crowd while he was being briskly escorted from one stage to another with his wife, two of his children, and attendees were asked not to move.

On Sunday night, he was scheduled to speak at an event attended by approximately 900 people in order to raise funds for the Republican Party of Orange County. Even though the event has been open to journalists in previous years, it was closed to media.

Many audience members at the Reagan Library stated that they came to see DeSantis in person as they waited for his decision on 2024. They were trying to figure out who would beat President Biden. According to polls, DeSantis is the most formidable opponent to Donald Trump in the Republican primary. Trump is currently attempting his third consecutive presidential run. DeSantis has yet to announce whether he will run as a presidential candidate.

Amber Ellingson (46-year-old teacher) said that she drove with her family from Orange County in order to see DeSantis face-to-face. She also claimed that DeSantis had won her over with his forward-looking remarks. Her family is “huge Trump supporters.”

“I believe we need new. “I think we need fresh air. “I love [DeSantis]’s boldness. It’s great how he describes it as it is.

She said that DeSantis was a great teacher and she loved his approach to education, especially how he kept schools open during the pandemic. She pointed out the difficulties that many students younger than her are experiencing because of their long periods of remote learning.

She said, “The children that were in kindergarten, first, and second grade… those children are so behind and it’s hard to know if they will ever catch up.”

Gary Paul, a 56 year-old Republican from Simi valley, was wearing a Ron DeSantis 2024 T-shirt and stated that he believes Trump is more competent than DeSantis.

Paul stated, “He’s Trump with a brain — the same style of politics and same policies — but he won’t shoot himself in his own foot every day like Trump.” DeSantis, he said, would need to tread a fine line over the coming months “between insulting Trump and his voter and not taking the bait from him.”

Lynn Bokamper (65-year-old Republican) said that she was still trying to make up her mind after driving from Riverside to see DeSantis.