Will Ron DeSantis be GOP's 2024 presidential pick? Florida Gov. favorite after Trump post rousing CPAC speech
DeSantis' speech was appreciated so much that in a straw poll, he was the clear 2024 second choice and a first if Trump decides to stand down or can't run
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis kicked off Friday’s proceedings at the Conservative Political Action Conference with a rousing speech, which had many on the internet pegging him as a major 2024 presidential candidate.
DeSantis' speech was appreciated so much that in a straw poll, he was the clear 2024 second choice and a first if Trump decides to stand down or can't run.
“Florida’s leading on the issues that matter to conservatives. We don’t spout hollow rhetoric. We take decisive action. And what’s true in Florida is what’s true for conservatives across this nation,” DeSantis said, offering comments that sounded to many like the premise for a presidential run. "We cannot, we will not go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear."
He added, “We reject open borders and instead support American sovereignty and the American worker. Building a movement on the foundation of amnesty and cheap foreign labor is like building a house on quicksand. We reject weakness in the face of the threat posed by China,” DeSantis added. "We reject military adventurism and instead support a strong defense solely for the purpose of protecting this nation and its people.”
"At this moment in our history, standing for the right things comes at a cost. You will be attacked. You will be smeared. You may even be canceled by the major organs of the political left," he said, adding, "Now, anyone can spout conservative rhetoric. We can sit around and have academic debates about conservative policy. I’m not saying you don’t do any of that. But the question is, when the Klieg lights get hot, when the left comes after you, will you stay strong, or will you fold."
With the speech, DeSantis earned himself plenty of praise. According to reports, if the 2024 elections primary were to be held today and Trump were in the race, just 55% said they would vote for him, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 21%. Without Trump in the field, DeSantis garnered 43% support, followed by 8% for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and 7% each for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
#CPAC2021 poll w/o Trump— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 28, 2021
Ron DeSantis: 43%
Kristi Noem: 11%
Don Jr: 8%
Mike Pompeo: 7%
Ted Cruz: 7%
Tucker Carlson: 3%
Josh Hawley: 3%
Nikki Haley: 3%
Rand Paul: 2%
... and Mike Pence: 1%
DeSantis' growing popularity
DeSantis' speech has now strengthened the faith other Republicans have in him. "When it comes to 2024, it's clear that President Trump is in the driver's seat," Florida GOP vice-chair Christian Ziegler reportedly said. "President Trump’s record of fighting for conservatives is unmatched. ... If Trump was to pass on a run in 2024, it’s very clear that the Republican Party has a deep bench of leaders and candidates, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis leading the pack."
Ziegler said “it’s not rocket science” to see that DeSantis' popularity is increasing. “Americans love freedom, and that’s exactly what Ron DeSantis has delivered for Florida over the last year, and the rest of the country has taken note,” he said.
DeSantis has also been in the news for calling on legislators to crack down on tech companies, revamp the state’s election laws and approve a contentious bill to increase criminal penalties against violent protesters. He had reportedly said that the proposals are necessary “to ensure tax dollars don’t end up in the hands of the likes of [Nicolás] Maduro, Kim Jong Un or the Chinese Communist Party.”
“We need to take action, stand firm against the Chinese Communist Party and foreign influence and interference in American research, education and public affairs,” DeSantis said.
He was earlier in the news for slamming the federal aid to Florida. President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package before the U.S. Senate would give Florida state and local governments $16 billion in one-time aid, which is more than enough to wipe out the state’s $2 billion shortfalls. "You shouldn’t be penalizing states for doing a good job, which is exactly what this bill does," DeSantis reportedly said, claiming that the funding formula is unfair to Florida because it is tied to unemployment.
'Run for President 2024'
Ever since the speech, DeSantis' popularity among his supporters in Florida and elsewhere is strengthening. "Run for President 2024," one tweeted. "Hopefully this man will be our next president. One of the few Governors left out there with some balls. I'm glad to have him leading our state," another supporter said.
Run for President 2024— paolav (@paolav80003464) March 2, 2021
Hopefully this man will be our next president. One of the few Governors left out there with some balls. I'm glad to have him leading our state.— Jeremy Vice (@jman0717) March 2, 2021
For many supporters, he is already the replacement for Trump. "I think most of us would like President Trump to run again at the same time I think we should think more of him, he is not young. His ideas can be translated to other people like Ron DeSantis, we will see," one tweeted. "@GovRonDeSantis
you will be the best president ever. Why? Because you have BALLZ OF STEEL . THAT'S WHAT A REAL MAN LOOKS LIKE" another strong supporter said. "You can say that again and again. A lot of the freedom in Florida us due to our forward thinking governor, Ron Desantis who will someday be President of the United States," one user tweeted.
I think most of us would like President Trump to run again at the same time I think we should think more of him, he is not young. His ideas can be translated to other people like Ron DeSantis, we will see. https://t.co/UDt5CkiqkB— John (@Johntourguide) March 2, 2021
@GovRonDeSantis you will be the best president ever. Why? Because you have BALLZ OF STEEL .— Prosecutor (@Prosecu39194885) March 2, 2021
THAT'S WHAT A REAL MAN LOOKS LIKE
You can say that again and again. A lot of the freedom in Florida us due to our forward thinking governor, Ron Desantis who will someday be President of the United States.— victor mingal (@naples46) March 2, 2021