Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promoted his record to a group of Christian broadcasters on Monday. He also asserted that he has only “begun to fight” – an apparent reference to his yet-undeclared candidacy for president that could be announced as soon as this week.
DeSantis made these comments on the opening day of the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Orlando, Fla. Fox 13 in Tampa said “signs and sources” point to DeSantis announcing a presidential run on Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of pessimism out there,” he said of the United States. “But I think that what we’ve done in Florida can inspire people with a sense of hope. American decline is not inexorable. It is a choice. A great American comeback is attainable, and freedom sure is worth fighting for.”
The second-term governor promoted his conservative record to the conservative crowd: his signing budgets that lowered taxes, his signing a heartbeat abortion ban, his signing a law banning trans surgery on minors, and his appointment of conservative justices to the Florida Supreme Court, among them.
He called Florida the “most pro-Israel state in the United States.”
“We understand it is the cradle of our Judeo-Christian tradition and those are the values that undergird our constitution and our republic,” he said.
Florida “stands unequivocally in defense of the family and in defense of our children.”
“We also understand that being pro-life means being pro-life once the baby is born,” he said. “And so we have provided unprecedented support in the state of Florida for mothers. We’ve expanded medical coverage for low-income mothers.”
DeSantis touted a fatherhood initiative bill he signed that provides millions of dollars in state funding to promote responsible fatherhood. He quoted former NFL coach Tony Dungy as saying the common thread of most men in prison is they grew up without a dad in the home.
On education, DeSantis said Florida is making sure that “our school system is providing kids with an education, not an indoctrination.”
He also discussed the school voucher bill he signed this year, saying it is “empowering parents with the ability to choose the school of their choice.”
“We enacted the largest expansion of school choice in American history, universal education savings accounts,” DeSantis said. “If a parent wants to have their child get a religious education, they now have the scholarship money to be able to do that if they can’t afford it.”
In Florida, he said, “we flatly reject the inclusion of gender ideology” in schools.
DeSantis closed by encouraging those in attendance to “put on the full armor of God.”
“We have a responsibility to preserve the freedom that has been endowed upon us by our Creator,” he said. “… We must restore a sense of sanity to our society, we must restore normalcy to our communities. And we must restore integrity to our institutions. Our Founders understood that freedom is fragile. You could have the best Declaration of Independence in the world, you can have the best Constitution in the world, [but] they do not run on autopilot.”
He added, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in Florida, but I can tell you this: I have only begun to fight.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.