Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held his campaign kickoff in Iowa and came out swinging against the top two competitors for the White House: “…leadership is not about entertainment.”
Leading off a busy week stumping in the Hawkeye State, New Hampshire and South Carolina, DeSantis’s bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination held its first rally in Des Moines, Iowa Tuesday from the Eternity Church. After being introduced by Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) it wasn’t long before the candidate was taking shots at both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
Leading off, he quipped, “It is great to be back. And it’s great for me to report that our great American comeback starts by sending Joe Biden back to his basement in Delaware. I mean, he’s spent so much of his time as president on vacation, we might as well make it permanent.”
Later, seemingly turning toward his key primary rival, DeSantis leveled, “At the end of the day, leadership is not about entertainment. It’s not about building a brand. It’s not about virtue signaling. It is about results.”
He continued to contrast his record as an executive by stating, “And in Florida, we didn’t lead with merely words. We followed up our words with deeds. And we have produced a record of accomplishment that we would put up against anybody in this country.”
The governor made note that his efforts were faced with “relentless opposition” that included “from media, from the left, from bureaucrats — even from some of our fellow Republicans. People told me, governor, what you’re doing, you’re cutting against the grain and you’re getting hammered. You’re not going to be long for this world politically if you keep doing what you’re doing.”
“But you know, leadership is about doing what’s right, even in the face of intense criticism, even when people are coming at ya,” he asserted. “You gotta be willing to stand all by yourself if that’s what it calls for.”
“My job as a leader is to put the interests and the jobs of the people I represent ahead of protecting my own political hide,” DeSantis leveled even if it hurt him politically “Lo and behold, when you do the right thing regardless of polls or regardless of wherever the wind’s blowing, people appreciate ya.”
“They know when you stood up for ’em,” the governor added. “When it’s not easy and you do it, that’s when they go to war for you!”
When his attention was turned to the current first family, DeSantis also suggested of the president’s son, “If Hunter were a Republican, he would have been in jail years ago.”
“We cannot permit the inmates to run the asylum,” he opined.
At another point, the candidate mused about his previous trip to Iowa and how he had taken advantage of a last-minute rally cancellation from Trump. Having already been in the state, DeSantis made an impromptu visit to the area where reported threats of storms had interfered with the president’s flight plan to get to The Hawkeye State.
Haberman: DeSantis ‘kicked sand’ in Trump’s face with impromptu visit after rally cancelationhttps://t.co/QGwvkuBIWP
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) May 15, 2023
“A few weeks ago, we were in-state. We were not actually scheduled to come to the Des Moines area, but before we decamped back to Florida, the weather was so nice that we felt we just had to come back and pay everyone a little bit of a visit,” DeSantis mused.
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