Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis on the Hugh Hewitt Show: "Day One as Commander-in-Chief... we're going to focus on mission accomplishment."

July 20, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Ron DeSantis joined Hugh Hewitt on the Hugh Hewitt Show. The highlights are below.

Listen to the full interview HERE.

On the meaning behind his "Mission First" military policy:

"We just rolled out a policy about getting rid of the wokeness in the military and getting it focused back on the mission. I'm relying on my experience of being in an organization where at that time, it was mission first, and you checked a lot of this political stuff at the door; you try to get over any differences people have and unite to be for a common purpose. That's just how I always thought it was. I think that's how most veterans think it was. Now, with the recruiting crisis, there's a lot of people that, understandably, aren't signing up because they say, 'the military has lost its way."

On being the only veteran in the race:

"We were in Al Anbar Province, places like Fallujah and Ramadi; this is Al Qaeda in Iraq during the troop surge of 2007. I think it began maybe [in] late 2006. I was there in 2007. And from a military perspective, it was a very successful operations. I mean, these guys were routed out; you started to have US forces work constructively with the Sunni Arab tribes. By the time we left, I mean, it was basically peaceful. I would say 99% of the casualties that the American troops were taking at that time were not in Al Anbar Province, they were in the Shia-dominated areas, where you had Iranian militias that were killing US troops with things like ESP devices, and so that was a success. The issue was trying to cobble together a democracy in that part of the world, which was something that was really beyond the military's capability to do. So, I came away from that having confidence that if you give us a concrete mission as an American military and show you know that we have the means to achieve it, our guys will execute that. We're not going to be able to socially engineer societies around the globe, and that was something that was readily apparent to me from being there. So, I'm very sensitive. If there's ever US troops involved, I just want to make sure that that mission is very clearly defined, and that we'll know that we can accomplish it, and we'll know when we accomplish it. I think we get into trouble when we get into situations where the mission is a little murky, where we don't necessarily know when we have a victory. And of course, if you look at the last two decades, we haven't had clear-cut victories in the conflicts that we've been engaged in."

On whether Sen. Tuberville should reverse his position on military promotion holds:

"The military's policy is not following U.S. law. They are using tax dollars [and] they are funding abortion tourism, which is not an appropriate thing for the military to be doing. So, I think our Republicans in Congress should just take a stand on this. The DoD should stand down. We have all these other problems in our military, you know, we need more ammunition. We need more recruiting. We need all these other things and yet they're focusing on abortion tourism, so that'll be an easy thing for me day one as Commander in Chief, that policy will go out the window and we're going to focus on mission accomplishment."

On combating the Chinese Communist Party:

"I think Xi is the most ideological Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. I think he has more global ambitions than any Chinese leader in our lifetime. They have built up a very powerful military, not at our level yet, but they're getting there. They're investing in things like artificial intelligence with their defense weapons, so I think that they have designed to not just on Taiwan, throughout the entire Indo-Pacific. And of course, as we've seen, even in our own hemisphere here. So, we're now in a situation as a country where I don't think the Biden administration has responded appropriately to that threat. I think that they view the Chinese as kind of a friendly competition. They've been more deferential lately, that ultimately is not going to work. Ultimately, what XI respects and what the CCP respects is hard power. So, we need to marshal more hard power in the Indo-Pacific. One of the things that we'll do is- and I think you can do this, and you know, all this stuff, through budget reconciliation, given what Biden did. I think you can do a multi-year a naval build-up, started in that first year in office, because ultimately, that's what we're going to need to do to project that type of power, we need to deny China the ability to dominate the Indo-Pacific."

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis on the Hugh Hewitt Show: "Day One as Commander-in-Chief... we're going to focus on mission accomplishment." Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/364237

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