Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis' Interview with Bob Vander Plaats

November 13, 2023

"If there's ever a conflict between your faith and the left's agenda, they expect you to bend the knee. That's not religious liberty as our founders understood it, and that's a battle that we have to win."

Des Moines, IA - Ron DeSantis joined Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of the FAMiLY Leader, for an interview as part of Vander Plaats' "Choose Well 2024" series. The highlights are below.

Watch the full interview HERE.

On the need for a spiritual revival in America:

Well, if you go back to Alexis de Tocqueville, when he wrote Democracy in America, one of the things he thought was unique about America is, you had all these important institutions that really gave life to American freedom. So yes, the government, whatever role it played, but then you had this. And chief among them were the churches. You go back to the American Revolution, and the role that the church has played in us getting independence--I think it's vital. I think that it was not an accident that so many people on the left sought to close churches during COVID. I think that they did not want people going in. I mean, how do you say a church should be closed, but a strip club can be open? In Florida, I did an executive order saying churches are open, people can go. So I think the left views that as an impediment to their agenda. And I just think that our country's kind of on the mat, similar to like it was in the late 70s. I think the spirit has been beaten down. I think there's a lot of pessimism. And yes, having a leader come up and talk about the political vision is important, and Reagan did that, but that's not enough. I mean, you really do need spiritual revival. You need people to understand that, you know what, there's a higher power here. And it's not just about our day to day. We're here, our freedoms ultimately come from God... we need to have society rooted in truth. And part of the reason I don't like some of the nonsense the left's doing, I mean, if you're telling me that a man can get pregnant, that is not true, okay. And we can't have society rooted in things that are false--the truth will set us free. And I think ultimately, it's faith that's rooted in the ultimate truth.

On being a pro-life president:

I think some of those practices are very barbaric. They probably would have been unthinkable in this country even 15, 20 years ago. But this has become something that the left has really viewed as their hobby horse. It used to be that even people that may not have supported pro-life protections still wanted abortion to be rare, and they wanted to reduce it, and they viewed it as a bad thing. The modern left, some of these people are embracing it as a positive good. That is not a positive good. I mean, I told the story in the debate the other day about a single mother in Jamaica who was told to have an abortion. [Because she was] poor, the daughter wasn't going to have opportunities. For whatever reason, she got to that clinic, something came over her, God told her no, have the baby. The girl ended up working in Jamaica, then she came to the United States, went to law school, and I recently appointed her to the Florida Supreme Court. But people would have said, 'Oh, she doesn't have a chance. You're a poor, single mother,' all this other stuff. And I think what I try to tell people is, we're better off when everybody counts, when everybody has a chance. And part of that is, of course, being pro-life, but part of it is ensuring that mothers have what they need to be able to give their kids opportunity. You know, sometimes we talk a lot about being pro-life in the womb, and then once after that, we kind of forget. We promote fatherhood in Florida. We launched a big fatherhood initiative. I understand the financial constraints that a lot of people are on. That drives decisions when you have inflation because women don't think they can afford. We made all baby items permanently tax-free in Florida. So baby food, wipes, diapers, cribs, strollers, all that. We want people to be able to raise families in our state, and we want that throughout the country.

On protecting parents' rights:

I do think legislatively you do need to act. I know Iowa's done so, and Florida, we did a parental Bill of Rights. We protected women's sports. We provided curriculum transparency for the parents, so when they're going into school, they know what's being taught. You should have a right to know what what's being taught in your kid's school. Parents have blown the whistle in Florida when pornographic materials had been found, and the media will say that we're somehow quote 'banning books.' It's not banning books. If you walked into a kindergarten classroom and someone was playing an X-rated movie, you would take the movie out. That doesn't mean it's banned from society. It just means it's not appropriate for that... When anyone that says they don't want the parents involved in education, the only reason you wouldn't want the parents involved is because a parent is an obstacle to you imposing your agenda on their kids. Because if a parent's involved in a student's academic progress, the student's going to do better... So you can see what they're trying to do. They want your rights as parents to bow down to the left's ideological agenda, and the same way they want people of faith to bow down to the left's ideological agenda. They think it's okay to go to church for that one hour a week on Sunday, but they don't want you bringing that into any other institution. If there's ever a conflict between your faith and the left's agenda, they expect you to bend the knee. That's not religious liberty as our founders understood it, and that's a battle that we have to win.

On why he decided to run for president:

The country is in a state of decline. I think if you look economically, culturally, militarily, we're losing ground every day. There's a lot of people to think that you just have to kind of accept that as the new normal, maybe managed the decline is the best that we can do. I reject that. I think we need to reverse the country's decline. I think we need an American revival and a new birth of freedom. And for whatever reason, God put me in the position of being the governor of Florida during a time when things went haywire in our country during COVID and so many other ways. And I've been somebody that has stood up and led through crisis, standing up to the left winning big battle after big battle, and then delivering big political success as a result. So our model in Florida is really a model that could help rejuvenate this country. And I felt that I was positioned to be the guy that could get it done.

On the need to stand with Israel:

What they suffered was the most widescale massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. If you had taken how small Israel is and extrapolate that to the United States, a similar attack here would have been like 20 9/11's. So this is an existential threat to their existence. Hamas would kill every Jew that they can. They don't think Israel has a right to exist. They want to wipe Israel off the map. So we have to say, as Americans, and I would as President, we're going to stand with Israel in public and private. We're going to make sure in word and deed that we support their right to defend themselves and to eliminate the problem of Hamas once and for all. Yes, I support our military relationship, providing them Iron Dome, whatever they want. But the most important thing that they're asking for us is unequivocal support in both public and private. I think what Biden is doing is he's saying some things publicly that he's undercutting privately, and even some of the stuff that his administration says publicly -- we need moral clarity right now. There is no moral equivalence between Israel defending itself from having its people massacred and a Hamas terrorist who would kill a baby, an elderly, take people hostage. They have no morals at all. Israel -- and it shows you the difference -- what Israel has done to be able to save people, it's a culture that values life, whereas Hamas, they glorify death.

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis' Interview with Bob Vander Plaats Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/369171

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