DeSantis delivers annual state of state — with an eye to 2024

Whereas DeSantis has disregarded questions on his political ambitions, he’s checked many of the packing containers that White Home hopefuls search to accomplish as they gear up for a nationwide marketing campaign.

As Florida’s legislative session begins this week, DeSantis will head to Iowa and is planning journeys to Nevada and New Hampshire. These visits come after DeSantis held a collection of campaign-style occasions to hype his new ebook, “Braveness to be Free.”

He’s has additionally come beneath elevated assaults from Donald Trump as the previous president focuses on the Florida governor as the largest impediment to getting the 2024 Republican nomination. DeSantis has noticeably misplaced weight, one other widespread feature of politicians planning excessive profile future runs. Trump’s insults, at instances, have centered on DeSantis’ bodily look.


DeSantis couldn’t ask for a greater runway for a nationwide Republican main than Florida. The Republican-dominated Legislature over the previous two years has handed him virtually something he needed as he has ascended by the nationwide conservative ecosystem and seems poised to proceed the development.

Each Florida Republican Home Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo opened their speeches Tuesday by praising DeSantis, which has grow to be widespread among the many state’s Republican leaders.

“Our governor is really America’s governor,” Passidomo mentioned. “He has defended our conservative values, challenged the people and establishments who pose threats to others, and launched revolutionary options to higher our state. It’s usually mentioned that states are laboratories for democracy. Beneath the management of Governor DeSantis, Florida is greater than a laboratory, we’re the mannequin.”

DeSantis used his speech to spotlight his coverage portfolio, which is essentially outlined by tradition war-infused fights. That features urging lawmakers to broaden Florida’s “Parental Rights in Schooling invoice,” recognized by opponents as “Don’t Say Homosexual,” which bans instruction of sexual orientation and gender id in lecture rooms up till third grade. Legislators need to broaden the ban till eighth grade.

A couple of half-dozen payments lawmakers are proposing are impressed by DeSantis’ hard-right agenda, together with mandating that lecturers use pronouns that match these assigned to their college students at start, ban gender research within the state’s greater training system and prohibit gender-affirming look after trans minors beneath 18.

“It’s unhappy that we have now to say this, however our youngsters are usually not guinea pigs for science experimentation and we can’t permit folks to make cash off mutilating them,” DeSantis mentioned.

Attending the State of the State speech was Chloe Cole, an 18-year-old who has referred to herself as a “former trans kid,” and who has spoken to state legislature’s throughout the nation in assist of banning gender-affirming care.

Each state and nationwide Democrats rapidly launched a slate of press releases and “truth checks” blasting DeSantis, a fast response effort that’s ramping up as Democrats put together to do battle with DeSantis heading into the 2024 presidential election cycle.

“Ron DeSantis is ready to ship his State of the State deal with immediately — the place he’ll unveil his excessive want listing for the upcoming Florida legislative session as he proceed his determined chase for the MAGA base,” the Democratic Nationwide Committee mentioned in an announcement.

Unexpectedly, GOP lawmakers on Tuesday additionally proposed a six week abortion ban simply minutes earlier than DeSantis delivered his State of the State deal with even because the state’s earlier 15 week abortion ban is mired in authorized challenges and is awaiting a Florida Supreme Court docket listening to. The proposed six-week ban, which has the assist of legislative leaders, contains language tying its efficient date to a ruling by the conservative-leaning state excessive courtroom. If the courtroom upholds the regulation, the six-week ban might take impact if handed, however it will not if the 15-week ban is discovered to be unconstitutional.

The brand new proposal contains exemptions up to 15 weeks for rape and incest if the sufferer offers documentation that they had been victimized. That may embrace issues like police reviews, courtroom data, or restraining orders.

DeSantis instructed reporters after his State of the State speech that he thought the exemptions had been “acceptable” however stored his feedback transient.


“I’ve not seen what’s filed, however I believe that within the dialogue that I had heard them [lawmakers] having, they had been recognizing [the challenge to the 15 week abortion ban] was pending and that no matter they do that yr could be principally solely in impact if that case was resolved in a positive means,” DeSantis mentioned.

Pilloried by Dems

Democrats instantly railed in opposition to the proposal and solid DeSantis as excessive for supporting the measure. Democrats nationally used the identical method within the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court docket ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, and it was credited, partially, with serving to Democrats take pleasure in a way more profitable 2022 midterm than predicted.

“Every of us ought to be free to dwell our lives with dignity and to make the selections which are finest for our lives, households and communities,” mentioned state Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat who beforehand labored for Deliberate Parenthood. “Nobody desires Ron DeSantis within the examination room with us; private medical selections ought to be between me, my household, my physician, and my religion. Not politicians.”

White Home spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday additionally instructed reporters that elected officers like DeSantis “espouse quote, freedom for all, unquote, whereas straight attacking the liberty to make one’s personal well being care selections. Their rhetoric doesn’t come with out penalties right here.”

However within the wake of midterm elections that noticed Republicans dominate in Florida and construct legislative super-majorities, Democrats have largely acknowledged there may be little they’ll do to decelerate DeSantis’ agenda.

And DeSantis doesn’t seem poised to ease up.

“We’ll stand robust. We’ll maintain the road. We gained’t again down,” he mentioned to conclude his speech, earlier than borrowing a line made well-known by former President Ronald Raegan. “And I can promise you this, you ain’t seen nothing but.”

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