Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has touted his ability to defeat President Joe Biden in the 2024 elections if he enters the presidential race.
In an interview for Fox News scheduled to air on March 23, DeSantis stopped short of announcing a possible run but made it clear that if he were to enter the race, he could win.
“If I were to run, I’m running against Biden,” DeSantis said, according to a preview published in the New York Post. “Like we [him and former President Donald Trump] are competing for the Republican, potentially, I get that, but ultimately you know the guy I’m gonna focus on is Biden because I think he’s failed the country. I think the country wants a change. I think they want a fresh start and a new direction and so we’ll be very vocal about that.”
“I won with independents by 18 points,” he said, “and so that will be the same formula that we would take, and honestly forget about me, I think anybody should take the formula like that nationally.”
DeSantis on ‘Woke Ideology’
“You can’t win with just Republicans. You’ve gotta win with independents and you need to convince some of these Democrats, which I was able to do in Florida, because they’re not woke, they don’t like some of the nonsense going on,” DeSantis said. “They want their streets safe, and they want quality education. So I think you could appeal to people across the canvas.”
The Republican then went on to praise Florida’s battle against “woke” ideology.
In recent months, DeSantis has proposed blocking state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and the neo-Marxist ideology, critical race theory (CRT), something the Biden administration has made a priority.
During a recent discussion on the impact of CRT and DEI on students, the governor declared Florida is “not going to back down to the woke mob,” adding that students will “receive an education, not a political indoctrination.”
The state has also banned transgender surgery, hormone therapy, and puberty blockers for children.
Biden has branded Florida’s efforts to prevent what DeSantis calls efforts to “castrate” young children “close to sinful.”
On Monday, Florida voted to approve an abortion ban after six weeks of pregnancy, although the bill includes exceptions for rape and incest.
‘I Can’t Worry About the Political Fallout’
The bill, which still needs to be considered in another Senate committee before it heads to the full Senate, runs contrary to Biden’s efforts to bolster access to abortions.
Biden and DeSantis have also sparred over a number of other key issues including COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Ultimately, DeSantis said he believes being Florida’s governor has prepared him for a possible presidency.
“What I’ve been called upon to do as governor is make the right decisions when it wasn’t easy,” DeSantis said. “I can’t worry about getting criticized. I can’t worry about the political fallout.”
DeSantis’s comments come as both he and Trump appear to lead in a number of 2024 polls, despite the Florida governor not yet announcing any candidacy. Biden also has not yet announced a possible run, but some polls show him in the lead over Trump.
Trump is currently being investigated by a New York grand jury over his alleged payment to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and has called the probe, led by District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a witch hunt.
DeSantis appeared to defend Trump, who has publicly criticized him in the past, during a press conference on Monday in which he took aim at Bragg.
“I have not seen any facts yet, and so I don’t know what’s going to happen but I do know this: The Manhattan district attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor and so he, like other Soros-funded prosecutors, they weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety,” the governor said.