Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - Ron DeSantis Answers Questions From Iowa Caucusgoers at CNN Town Hall

December 12, 2023

"We have delivered victory after victory. That's what you deserve as the next President of the United States."

Des Moines, IA - Ron DeSantis took questions from Iowa caucusgoers tonight during a CNN Republican Presidential Town Hall at Grand View University.

A top moment of the night came when DeSantis said he is the only one running who made bold promised and delivered big results:

VOTER: "Do you think it's possible for the four candidates who made last Wednesday's debate stage to come together and throw your support behind one of you in an effort to create an actual competitor for President Trump?"

DESANTIS: "Well, I appreciate that sentiment, Jessica. Well, look, I think that's what the Iowa caucuses, I think you guys choose who that person is. And I think I'm confident it's going to be me, because here's the thing, I'm the only one running that can beat Trump one-on-one. Why? Because the other candidates cannot get enough support from core Republicans and traditional conservatives to be able to go, you can't just win with a slice of the party, you've got to have broad support, we'll be able to do that going forward. And also, I think the reason why I think I should be the guy, we need a change agent in Washington, we don't want somebody that's just going to go up there and be part of the establishment, rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Now I want real serious structural change. I want to see term limits for members of Congress, I want to see a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, I want to see a line item veto for the President, I want to see agencies moved out of Washington, DC, into other parts of the country, I want to see a reduction in the scope of government. And that's going to take a leader that has backbone that's going to be willing to fight for you. And as a record of actually delivering big victories. I'm the only one running who's done 100% of my promises fulfilled in Florida. I'm also the only one running if you look at the folks that are doing the bad policies on the left that's causing the problems in the country. I'm the only one running who's beat these people. We beat the teachers union with school choice. We beat Fauci on COVID I beat Soros on the prosecutors, the left prosecutors that we remove, we beat the Dems on election integrity, so we have delivered victory after victory. That's what you deserve as the next President of the United States."

Another top moment came when DeSantis answered a question about how he plans to fix the economy as President:

VOTER: "Welcome, Governor. And first of all, thank you for your service. As a veteran, it's important to recognize your services and Americans. So thank you very much. Thank you. Why should my employees trust you to return us to the prosperity that they enjoyed under President Trump?"

DESANTIS: "Well, Tim, thanks for the question. I hope your business is doing well. I know things are tough right now with a lot of things. They could trust me for a couple of reasons. One, if you look at what we've done in Florida, our economy is ranked number one of all 50 states, we've boomed like we've never had, even in the face of all the inflation and the interest rates, which we have to obviously struggle with too. But our unemployment rate is 60% lower than states like California, which are peer states. I'd also say this, I think the first three years of the Trump administration, the economy is better than it has been. But that last year with COVID, I think was mishandled dramatically. Shutting down the country was a huge mistake. Printing trillions and trillions of dollars was a huge mistake. That set the foundation for the inflation that we see. Granted, Biden came in and poured gas on the fire, it was reckless that he did trillions. But if you look, you have trillions and trillions of dollars, of course, you're paying more for that. You're gonna have inflation when that happens. So I'm going to come in, we're gonna get the inflation down, we're going to open up energy so that you pay less for gas, and we're gonna get the interest rates down so you can actually do things like afford a home. So I think your hard-working employees are going to have a friend in the White House and I think we're going to be able to turn this country around."

DeSantis also talked about how he will secure the border once and for all:

VOTER: "Thank you for your service. By the way, welcome to Des Moines. Yeah. My question is sort of a two-part question. Um, what are some things different you can do to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border, as well as what actions can the Border Patrol take that are new?

DESANTIS: "David, thanks for joining the National Guard. It's important. We've got a lot of great people in Florida... and I think it's going to be a very rewarding service for you. What can you do? Well, one, you can change the policy remain in Mexico, you have people that are abusing the asylum, they come make a bogus asylum claim, and then they get a sheet of paper, say, go ahead into the interior of our country and come back in two years for a court date. That is not a deterrent. So we will not entertain those claims. They can wait, I think we need to reform the law so that the claims don't even happen. But we're not letting people in, no way. We're gonna also empower states to enforce immigration law. People are coming across the Rio Grande, Texas should be able to deport and send them back. That's a force multiplier for us. I am going to build the border wall. And I remember in 2016, I went to the rallies with Donald Trump. He said he was going to build the wall and have Mexico pay for it. And that didn't happen. And why didn't it happen? Well, one, I think he got distracted. And he didn't do it on day one. But two, he didn't utilize the levers of power that he had. So how do you get Mexico to pay for it? Well, they're not just going to give us money. Although Trump said at the time, they would do that, because people like Jake would say, wait a minute, how are you going to be able to do this? "Oh, they're going to pay for it. They're going to pay for it? No, they didn't do it." Here's what you do. You impose fees on the remittances that workers send back to foreign countries, Mexico, Central America, really all over the world, you'd raise billions of dollars, we'll put it into constructing the border wall. And here's the thing. We as Republicans, probably 99% blame Biden for 8 million people coming in illegally. It's been bad for the country. And I do too. But here's the thing. If Trump had built the border wall, it would have been very difficult for Biden to bring in all those many people. That's why you want a wall. It's a physical fact of life, that even an open-border president would not be able to get around so I will get the job done. The talk is cheap. And I'm sick of Republicans always using this issue every election cycle, to try to get donations and to try to tell the people if you do it. We are going to bring the issue to a conclusion."

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - Ron DeSantis Answers Questions From Iowa Caucusgoers at CNN Town Hall Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/369152

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