Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - Ron DeSantis' Town Hall with Gray TV's Iowa Political Director Dave Price

January 02, 2024

"Leadership's not about showmanship. Leadership is ultimately about producing results for the people that you represent."

Des Moines, IA - Ron DeSantis this evening participated in a town hall with Gray TV's Iowa Political Director Dave Price live from the WOWT studio. The highlights are below.

Watch the full town hall here.

On his main message to voters:

Very simple. Donald Trump is running on his issues. Nikki Haley is running on her donors' issues. I'm running on your issues, your family's issues, and turning this country around. That'll be my sole focus. It's not about me, I've got a lot of humility in doing this. As a leader, I'm just the vessel for your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I will get the job done for you.

On his leadership philosophy:

It's not about entertainment. Leadership's not about showmanship. Leadership is ultimately about producing results for the people that you represent. And I had to make decisions during COVID that put the interests of my people, their jobs and their freedom over my own personal political interest, because I was getting hammered all the time for a lot of the decisions I made to buck conventional wisdom. And I was perfectly willing to let the political chips fall where they may, because I had to stand up for those folks. So I'll be a president that will fight for you. And it's one thing to say that when the wind's at your back. It's much more difficult to do that when they're shooting at you and slinging arrows atc you. You can count on me though. When the chips are down and you need someone standing up for you, I'll be the guy to do that.

On the key differences between him and Donald Trump:

I have rendered very sharp contrast between Donald Trump and myself with respect to policy. For example, he's running on a lot of the things he promised to do in 2016 and didn't deliver on. He said he was going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it; didn't do it. He said that he was going to drain the swamp; didn't do it. He said he was going to eliminate the debt, and yet he added $7.8 trillion dollars to the debt. So those were not things that he dealt with effectively. The Democrats seem to beat him on the budget, the Democrats beat him by denying the border wall, and that's not going to happen with me. I'm going to get all these things done.

On how he'll secure the border and stop the invasion:

We will declare it to be a national emergency on day one. I'm going to have the military on the border to stop the invasion cold. But one of the things we have to do is, people come illegally, we've had millions under Biden, I'm going to deport them back to their home country. You have got to do that. Donald Trump promised the largest deportations in history. He deported less, believe it or not, than Barack Obama even did. So I'm going to do that. Number two, we are going to build the wall and have Mexico pay for it. How do you do that? Mexico is not just going to give us money. You charge fees on the remittances that workers send overseas. That'll raise billions. We'll build the wall. But most importantly, we're going to hold the Mexican drug cartels accountable. I'm going to categorize them as foreign terrorist organizations. That's going to give us an ability to use deadly military force against them.

On how he will combat Bidenflation:

One, we need to put the spending levels back prior to COVID. That would save hundreds of billions of dollars. They ratcheted up the spending during COVID. I think that was a huge mistake, if you look at how they handled all that all that printing of money has led to you paying more for prices, because when you print money, of course, you're going to get inflation. It's driven us deeper into debt, it's caused interest rates to go up. And now you have massive amounts of money for interest on the debt. So bring that spending back to where we were four or five years ago, freeze that in place for the non-defense, and then get the interest rates down so that you can handle the debt, without having this drop 800 or 900 billion or a trillion dollars a year.

On the importance of biofuels in the agriculture industry:

I think biofuels are American made. They produce good American jobs, and they're part of an overall strategy to have strong energy policy where we control our own destiny. I think it's been a big part of the Midwest and the economy here. I think a lot of farmers have done better as a result of having that as an option. So that's one of the things I've been able to do just by traveling around. I've been to all 99 counties, I've been able to go to a lot of farms, I've been able to go and visit a lot of ethanol plants. And I've been able to talk to folks who've been impacted by this. What we're going to do is we're going to open up the blend wall because there's potential to do much higher blends.

On why he's best suited to serve as Commander-In-Chief:

I'm the only veteran running for President. I'd be the first veteran who served in a foreign war elected president since 1988. So veterans issues are close to my heart. These will be top tier issues with me as president. And I don't think we've had a president that's put them front and center the way they should have been in recent-, in my lifetime. So we will do that... I have veterans coming up to me, in Iowa and beyond and frequently they will say that they're not sure they would advise their kids or grandkids to join the current military. So as commander in chief on day one, I'm taking all the political nonsense out of the military. We're going to refocus it on Mission First. Promotions are going to be done through merit and achievement. And that's the way it's going to be, that's going to create an increase in morale and I think more people are going to want to serve.

On how his faith impacts him as a leader:

Well, faith in God is just, you know, who I am. And my faith is my foundation. It's how I am able to deal with issues when the seas are choppy, when people are gunning for you, you know, I put on that full armor of God, and that allows me to have the strength to be able to lead. We saw this when my wife got diagnosed with breast cancer. [It was a] major thing, I mean, our kids were four, three, and one at the time, and we didn't know what was going to happen. The prayers we got from people, not just in Florida, but throughout the country, lifted her spirits, it lifted our family's spirits in a way that was really powerful. And I'm a firsthand believer in the power of prayer. And as governor, I think I would not have been able to stand strong during COVID, during some of the fights we had where we beat Disney on the transgender ideology, keeping that out of the schools and the elementary schools, because you got a lot of people that gun for you. And so I think having that faith, the faith in God, really gives you the foundation where you're standing strong for what's right. Now, in terms of how that relates beyond that, I mean, we're a diverse country. I mean, I've gone to, just in Iowa, I've gone to a number of different denominations. And they all have, you know, great traditions, and government needs to be neutral amongst that. I mean, you know, there's not going to be an established denomination versus others. But we are a country that is based on the idea that our rights come from God, not from the government. That's in the Declaration of Independence. And you absolutely have a right to not just go to church on Sunday and practice your faith there, but to live your faith in what you do in your daily lives. We're going to make sure that we restore religious liberty in this country because when you have situations where a football coach like Coach Kennedy is losing his job in Washington State because he led a voluntary prayer at midfield after a high school game and he has to go all the way to the Supreme Court, that is not what our Founding Fathers intended. They absolutely intended that your faith would be an important part of who you are, and that you have a right as a free citizen to live that out to the fullest.

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - Ron DeSantis' Town Hall with Gray TV's Iowa Political Director Dave Price Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/369186

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