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Gov. Ron DeSantis on the Brian Kilmeade Show - Full Interview

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2023 10:41 am

Gov. Ron DeSantis on the Brian Kilmeade Show - Full Interview

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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June 5, 2023 10:41 am

Florida Governor and 2024 GOP Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis joined Brian this morning to discuss the launch of his 2024 campaign. DeSantis responded to Nikki Haley's criticism of his ongoing feud with Disney as well as whether he thinks Donald Trump could win in a general election. The Governor also weighed in on President Biden's weak response to China's recent provocations and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink saying he will "force behaviors" on employees to be gender and race inclusive.

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And with me right now is the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. Welcome, Governor. Hey, how you doing?

I'm doing good. So what did the first week feel like for you? I'll tell you, it was incredible. We expected that we would get a good response, but in every place, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, the crowds exceeded our expectations. People were really excited to be out there and really appreciated the message. I think that a lot of these Republicans in these other states, of course, they know me now.

They like what I've done in Florida, but they don't really know everything we've done, and they haven't necessarily seen me in person yet. And so what we found is when people were able to do that, we had a lot of people say, yeah, I didn't know what I was going to do in this primary, but sign me up. And so, you know, these first few states, I mean, in the state of Florida, you know, we have millions and millions of votes cast.

Iowa will be probably less than 200,000, New Hampshire, a few hundred thousand. We had more votes in Miami-Dade County in my reelection than that. So getting out and meeting the people personally, I think it's something that's really, really important. And we really started off very, very well. But look, people want to change. They understand the country's going in the wrong direction. And we papered all these places. We did five stops in Iowa, four in New Hampshire, three in South Carolina.

And I think what we showed is Biden is not going to be able to get away with just sitting in his basement on this campaign because we are going to run him ragged all across this country, holding him accountable for his failures. What is the most frequent question you get? Because I was used to this. I mean, they've been doing this for decades.

What's the question that they have for you that might have surprised you a little bit? I'll tell you, Brian, people are, because I'm a veteran, I'm the only veteran that's running. People are very concerned about the state of our military. They see the politicization of it. They see a lot of woke ideology going in. They saw a lot of warriors being driven off with the COVID vaccine mandate, which was a huge disaster. And a lot of the veterans and military families really want to see that ship righted.

And so I think they're looking to me as somebody that has experience to be able to do that. But I heard that in all three states where, you know, obviously South Carolina, you'd expect it's a very heavy military, a lot of military families. But I'll tell you, people in Iowa, people in New Hampshire, that was something they were sensitive about. It may not get as much play as some of the other issues, but that was there. And then I think, of course, they are so sick of this border issue that's been going on for a long time.

I mean, Biden's made it worse than ever, but it's been going on for years and years, decades, really. And we're going to put it to a conclusion. We're going to get it done. And I think they really want to see action on that. But I think they understand, you know, you got to be disciplined, you got to have a good plan, you got to execute this stuff.

And so we'll get that done. And then finally, I would say, and you can appreciate this, Brian, because you spend time in Florida. But, you know, I can be in western Iowa and someone will come up to me and they will say, hey, thank you for fixing the Santa Belle Causeway. I was like, well, how did you know that? They're like, well, you know, my father's got a condo down there. I have a place down there or something.

And so even in places, you know, Iowa, New Hampshire, far away, people are following what's going on in Florida and they have some type of a connection to our state. So I was amazed for you personally, I know you're going to be taking on Trump directly. He's been taking you on for about three months. You've been indirectly going back because you weren't a candidate. And now you're more directly going back. Nikki Haley last night went at you on CNN and talked about your war with Disney.

Cut one. So here you have DeSantis, who accepted 50,000 in political contributions from Disney. He went and put their executives and their lobbyists on prominent boards throughout Florida. And he went and basically gave the highest corporate subsidies in Florida history to Disney. But because they went and criticized him, now he's going to spend taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit. It's just like all this vendetta stuff.

We've been down that road again. And you went on to say that to your reaction to her assessment of your war with Disney. How utterly bizarre. I mean, somebody does a campaign contribution and you're supposed to lay down for them. That's not how I operate. People can support me or not support me. I call them as I see them. And if you've supported me, you've supported me. But you're wrong.

I'm going to do what's right. Second of all, I did not give subsidy. They really Creek has been there for decades. You know that that was there since the 1960s, where they had their own government, had these massive subsidies. Yes, we unwound that and we ended their self-governing status. But it wasn't anything that I gave for them.

But I do think it's interesting. All these other Republicans have basically sided with Disney on this. And also I'm not suing them. They sued us. We're going to win that lawsuit.

Of course, we're going to defend. But they're siding with Disney. And at the end of the day, as a parent of three young kids, we are going to fight the sexualization of minors and children. We're going to fight anybody that's trying to rob them of their innocence. And we are not going to compromise whether that's standing up to a big 800 pound gorilla like Disney or anybody else.

We're going to stand with the children. And I think our voters want to see that because they understand raising kids nowadays is difficult. There's a lot of people trying to impose an agenda on them and they want somebody like me who's going to stand there and offer protection. But I think there's also the other issue of, you know, as Republicans, you can't just be a lackey for corporate America. You've got to be willing to stand up for individual taxpayers. You've got to be willing to stand up for small business. So the days of Republicans just deferring to large corporations, I think, need to be over. Not all these other Republicans are willing to do that. But I think with me and what we've been able to do by fighting woke corporations, kneecapping ESG in Florida, we're willing to stand up to these people because I think they're trying to pursue an agenda that's not in the best interest of our country.

Governor DeSantis, our guest, obviously. So you're going to love this. The CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink, talking about one of the most powerful companies in the world, talking about his agenda, not to maximize profits, but to do this. You know, what we're doing internally is if you don't achieve these levels of impact, your compensation is going to be impacted, okay?

We're doing the same thing. And so you have to force behaviors. And if you don't force behaviors, whether it's gender or race or just any way you want to say the composition of your team, you're going to be impacted.

And that's just not recruiting. It is development, as Ken said. And ultimately, it's still going to take time.

But I am just as much shocked as Ken is that we have not seen more opportunities. At a time in which it looked like the Supreme Court is pulling away and probably going to pull away from affirmative action. He's saying it's time to force change. So the issue with ESG is, one, the policies he wants to impose are bad policies. They want to kneecap domestic energy production. That's bad for people's pocketbooks because energy prices will be higher.

It's also bad for our national security because we will not be energy independent. But it's also the larger issue of who the heck do these people think they are that they govern our society? Nobody voted for him. And so our mantra in Florida is no economic or social transformation without representation. These are policies that could not win at the ballot box. And so they're trying to do through corporate America what they can't do in the electoral process. In Florida, we got rid of BlackRock in our state pension fund. $2 billion management took away because it conflicts with our anti ESG stance. But I am not going to have this country governed by a bunch of jet setters going to Davos and hanging out at the World Economic Forum. That does not work for us. We're going to make sure that we're standing up for everyday Americans who are working hard and they need access to affordable energy.

And they need to be treated as individuals and not have to compete in the woke Olympics just to get a job or just to get their kid in school. All right, that's interesting. So let's talk about what's happening in the world. Here's Secretary of Defense Austin. In response to China refusing to meet his counterpart, refusing to meet with him, a destroyer being headed off within 150 yards by a Chinese ship and one of our fighter jets, they're coming within 400 feet.

This is what he said. We will support our allies and partners as they defend themselves against coercion and bullying. To be clear, we do not seek conflict or confrontation, but we will not flinch in the face of bullying or coercion. Is that the strength did you expect the Secretary of Defense have, sounding like a diplomat? Would that be your Secretary of Defense's stance? Would that be Ron DeSantis's stance?

No, of course not. I mean, when you're, first of all, we've got to recognize that the CCP is the foremost threat that this country faces. President Xi Jinping is very ambitious.

He's expansionist. He's done a lot to build up their military. Now, they don't have as powerful military as us, but they're gaining on us.

Clearly, their economy has grown tremendously over the last few decades, and that largely because I think of some bad American policy, which we could discuss later. And so the issue is the Chinese respect strength. They respect an ability to project power. And I think Biden has invited people to be more aggressive through his weakness.

And so part of it is being willing to lay down the law and follow through with what you say in a variety of different issues. Part of it, though, I do think we need to be able to project more power in the Pacific. Some of that is having more naval strength than we have now. Some of it is dealing with the wokeness in the military. So morale increases and we get more recruits coming in. Some of it is dealing productively with our allies like Japan, Korea, India and Australia in that region.

I think the goal needs to be to deter Chinese aggression and to prevent a conflict. Strength will do that. Weakness will invite a conflict. So, Governor, no doubt about it. The president's coming after you. The former president's coming after you regularly. He thinks the fact that you're running is disloyal and you really haven't done that great a job in Florida. Do you feel, were you hesitating a little bit about running because you've worked with him before?

So here's the issue. He has said how great we've done in Florida for years. He said we were one of the great governors. Florida is one of the great states.

Florida stayed open. They did it right during COVID. All this now he's changed his tune. And he's saying Andrew Cuomo did better with his lockdowns in New York than we did during, quote, during Florida free state. I don't, I could count the number of Republicans on my hand who would have rather lived under Cuomo's lockdowns and would have rather lived under free Florida. So he's just trying to sell people a bill of goods. That is totally, absolutely ridiculous. And I don't think anybody actually believes that.

Here's what I think. You know, I owe loyalty to the people that elected me. The people that elected me, they don't need to be loyal to elected officials. It's our job to be loyal to them, to their aspirations and to the larger cause.

You know, be loyal to your faith and your family and your country. Other politicians, you work with them to be able to advance a larger mission. But people need to earn it.

You need to go out there and earn it. And I think what I would be able to do is we would be able to get this done against Biden, but then come in with a lot of energy in the executive office and have a really bold agenda that we'll be able to implement and then also run for reelection, get reelection and then have eight years to really institute lasting change. And I think that this is a critical moment for the country. We're not going to get a mulligan after 2024.

You know, some people tell me like, oh, well, you know, you should just, quote, wait to 28. Well, that would make sense if you're running to be somebody. But I'm not running to be somebody.

I'm running to do something. And I think 2024 is the country's hour of need. And I think we'll be able to get the job done for the American people. Do you think that Trump is electable in the general? So I think that there's a lot of voters who just aren't going to vote for him, who don't like Biden. And you realize that country's going in the wrong direction, but they're not going to go there. And I think that in 2016, the voters that disliked both Trump and Hillary, they sided with Trump. I think in 2020 and 24, it'll be, they dislike both, but they would probably default to Biden.

So I think that they want a vehicle to go forward. But I think he's got some issues with a state like Georgia, for example. You know, when they ran the Herschel Walker race, the Democrats and the runoff, they were just running ads in the Atlanta suburbs showing Trump endorsing Walker.

The Democrats were running that because they knew that that would cause some of those suburban voters to vote to vote for their candidates. But at the end of the day, I think, you know, we have a great track record of Florida of reaching voters who had traditionally not voted Republican. I mean, when we're winning over 60 percent of Hispanics, when we're winning independents by 18 percentage points and when we're winning Miami-Dade County by double digits, you know, that's showing that strong leadership can attract people. And at the end of the day, you know, we've had three substandard election cycles in a row as Republicans. I think that it's right for us to bring new people into the party.

But you got to have that vision and you got to convert on it. We've showed an ability to do that in Florida, like few others have. Governor is discouraging to be down 30, 40 points. Well, I don't think we are in the early states, but I also think that I just started running.

I mean, a lot of people didn't know I was going to run or weren't sure. So I think I think we're actually in really good shape. It's a long run. We've got a great plan.

And I think we're going to be very strong. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, which is what you need to do if you're going to be able to win these things. And I would also note, you know, to the extent the poll, I don't think the polling matters right now, the extent it does, you know, the swing state polls, I'm beating Biden in places like Georgia, Arizona, whereas Biden is beating Trump in those places. And I would also say, you know, some of the same pollsters that are putting some of this stuff out, you know, they were putting out polls in my reelection saying I was only up by one or two points and I won by 20. So I would take some of this stuff with a grain of salt. I think there's an effort to try to create narratives with polls for different people's agendas.

But here's what I would also say about Brian. The way I'm being attacked, Trump has run almost 20 ads, 20 million in ads negative, attacking me, you know, with frivolous and false smears. The corporate press is attacking me more than anybody else. The Democrats are attacking me. They would not do that if they didn't think I was a threat. I mean, if they thought that I wasn't, you know, in shape to really win this thing, they would just be ignoring me.

But they're not. They're coming after me. I'm the one that's taken most of the fire. And I think that's an indication that people know that, yeah, we do have what it takes and that we're a force to be reckoned with. And hopefully you'll stay in touch with us along the way.

I know you and I are over the weekend. You'll be going to those early states while still governing a state and raising your family. Not easy, Governor. Good job. I know you're in fighting shape and ready to go for this. Best of luck. OK, thanks, Brian. We'll talk soon.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-05 12:19:11 / 2023-06-05 12:26:27 / 7

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