Remarks at the Miami-Dade County Lincoln Day Dinner in Aventura, Florida
Thank you, thanks so much. Great to see you. Great to be in Miami-Dade County. Thanks to the chairman, Alex Rizo. Thanks to all the other elected officials. I saw Danny Perez. I saw Ana Maria. I saw some school board members, so appreciate everything you all have done. It is exciting to say that we are here in a Republican county of Miami-Dade.
I don't know that there is a county larger than Miami-Dade in this country that would be considered a Republican county at this point. I was at the dinner last year when we were doing it, when René García was chairman. And there was buzz in the air about, this is what we need to do, we need to win Miami-Dade county. And honestly, I mean, you all know, if you even come close in a statewide race as Republican, you're going to win statewide, of course. Same with Palm Beach, you know, Broward, you try to mitigate the damage it can do.
So to even be competitive was a win. But we knew that we could actually win it. And we started working on the school board races, to be able to flip seats on the school board. And we now have probably, for an urban district, the best school board in the country here in Dade given the size.
And I know there's going to be more work done on that. And that was in August, and then we came to November, and we knew we were going to do it. We knew we were going to do it because people recognize the success that we've had in the state of Florida. They've recognized and appreciated living in a free state, unlike many other places around the country.
And they saw that leadership matters. And so we were very confident we were going to win the county. But I'll tell you, not only did we win the county, our ticket carried Miami-Dade County by double digits. No one would have predicted that before the election.
And not only that, so we won Dade, I think it was 11 or 12%, which was huge, [but] we also won Palm Beach County, which nobody was thinking about. We were thinking about it, [and] we knew we could do it a little closer than here. Very difficult. And we made really good gains in Broward, believe it or not. Broward used to be like a 70-30 county; we shaved the margin in Broward to 14 or 15%, which is a huge, huge win for Republicans. It used to be that in Florida politics, Democrats would get killed in the rural areas, they'd get killed in southwest Florida, Panhandle, Northeast Florida, you kind of would fight over the center of the state, Tampa and Orlando, across that region. But South Florida is where the Democrats would get big margins: Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach counties. They would get that margin and we just had to figure out a way to mitigate it in other parts of the state.
Well for the 2022 election, if you add up all the votes cast combined in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami Dade, the Democrats didn't get any margin, we actually won South Florida outright. And that's the first time that's been done in a long, long time.
So job well done. I know a lot of people worked really hard for that. And it's especially important to note this success given how poorly Republicans did around the rest of the country. This was supposed to be a big red wave because you have a president in office who doesn't know which way is east and west and has a very difficult time, you know, getting-- I don't even know, like this cocaine in the White House. I mean I knew Biden was blowing a lot of issues. I didn't think it was quite that literal.
But was it Hunter's? Does everyone think it's Hunter's cocaine? Whose cocaine was it?
I can tell you this. If that were a Republican White House, man, you'd have a special counsel appointed. They'd want to know who the fingerprints—they'd know everything. Now there's 'Oh we were never going to be able to figure out you know, you know what's going on.'
But I think people rightly expected in a midterm election with a failed president- when inflation was 8, 9%, people thought the country was going in the wrong direction. They had a low opinion of Biden. We as Republicans should have been able to do nothing and gain, just given that environment. And yet, across the country, we saw Republican candidates lose very winnable races, that not only was there not a red wave, we actually lost seats in the US Senate. And we won the US House, but barely. And that should have been a tsunami. And so what we did in Florida, it was a true wave. It was a tsunami. What we did in Florida, we didn't have everyone around the country helping. We did it ourselves.
And so I think it's important because this is what we need to start doing throughout the rest of this country. Because I can tell you, I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish in Florida. I'm proud of being a Floridian, and people are proud to be Floridians now--more so than any time in my lifetime. We've got a sense of State pride. People like the fact that we bucked people like Dr. Fauci and made sure that the state was open and kids were in school. And all in all, down the line, people are excited about that. So it's great. And we've been able to do a lot.
But I'll tell you, if you look at what's going on with Biden and the left, they are intent on destroying the United States of America. And I think that if they're able to win in '24, and if we have another disappointing election, like we did in 2022, Katy bar the door because they're playing for keeps. If they win in '24 across the board, they will pack the US Supreme Court. They will add new judges, they will add liberal judges, and they will erase our conservative majority from the US Supreme Court just like that. They will try to make Washington, DC a state, so they get two left-wing, Democrat senators elected basically for life. They will abolish the electoral college. And they will eliminate voter ID in every jurisdiction in this country, and most likely mandate ballot harvesting in every jurisdiction in this country.
Now I can tell you, whatever you think of that agenda, and I don't think very highly of it, I'd imagine if you're sitting in this room you don't either. But it's a fact of the matter. The average American family is not sitting around their dinner table, saying, oh, man, I wish we could just get rid of voter ID. No, they're worried about crime and inflation and education and all these important issues. And so that's not an agenda that's speaking to the average American, that's an agenda where the left is trying to ensconce themselves in power for a generation. And if they're able to do that, it's going to take us a generation to be able to dig out of the hole that they will have dug for us. And this all goes to fundamental issues that are going to affect all of our daily lives. I mean, just think of what we've done in Florida, with respect to recognizing and protecting the idea that the purpose of our school system is to educate kids not to indoctrinate kids.
The Left believes that parents should just butt out of education, that you don't have a right to know what's going on in school, and they believe that because they think if the parents are involved that represents a roadblock for them using the school system to indoctrinate with their ideology. So they reject things like we've done in Florida, like a Parent's Bill of Rights. They want to impose ideology to teach kids to hate our country, to hate each other. Really, really sick stuff. And if you look at patriotism amongst young people right now, it's like 12% amongst people that are under 18. And I think that's by design. I think that that's a concerted effort to try to cause people to not like the foundations of this country. So they want to do that.
We stood against that in Florida. We say you, as a parent, have a right to know what curriculum is being used in your kid's school. It is sad to say, but it's true, that they have put pornography in the schools. You have a fifth grader that's reading this stuff. And it's too graphic to even discuss at a school board meeting- that's wrong. In fact, they'll accuse Florida of "banning books," because we remove pornography from classrooms and school libraries. No one's banning anything, you guys can get whatever you want. But what is appropriate to be in school and what's not? And I can tell you this, we did an event to highlight what the parents had objected to across Florida. And we showed pictures on the video screen about what it was they were objecting to at the press conference. The new stations that were covering that, they had to cut their feed because they said it was too graphic to air on TV. Well, if it's too graphic for the six o'clock news, how is it okay for a 10-year-old school child?
So we believe that parents have the fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their kids. And that means things like curriculum transparency, it also means choosing the school of your choice. And thanks to the legislature, we enacted universal education savings accounts, the largest expansion of school choice in American history just this year.
It also means, and when I look at the education issues, I think most of you know, my wife and I, we've got three young kids, six, five, and three. And this morning, actually my five-year-old son, it was his first- he had been playing T-ball. Now he's in pitch ball, where the coach pitches. He actually did really good because you know, we've been practicing, but we are parents. We kind of go through what other parents are having to go through. And we just believe that parents in this state and in this country should be able to send their kids to school, let them watch cartoons, just let them be kids, without having an agenda shoved down their throats. It is wrong to have things like gender ideology in the schools, where you're teaching a second grader, that they can choose a different gender or that their gender is a choice. That is wrong. And that does not have a place in the state of Florida because we stood up and made sure that we protected the rights of parents. And when we did that, the left was very upset about it because they want, especially in those early grades, that's where they really want to get in and do the agenda. So they were not happy with that. The media was not happy with it.
But I'll tell you parents in this state were happy that we stood up- not just Republicans, [but] Independents [and] Democrats. Kids need to be kids. And we've got to stop targeting our children letting them target are chosen. And you know, Biden, and the Left they say this, but Biden himself will say, 'you know, they're not just your kids, they're all of our kids.' Well, wait a minute. No, no, no, my kids are my kids. Okay, Joe, they're not your kids. And oh, by the way, you say that they're all of our kids, yet, you don't recognize your own granddaughter in Arkansas, thanks to Hunter, you pretend like she doesn't exist. Spare me this idea of all of our kids. But that's their view. And so we have a situation where we stand up against that. And you know, Disney didn't like it when we stood up against the gender ideology. But I didn't take an oath of office to support a woke corporation based in California, I took an oath to support the people of this state. And that's exactly what we did. So, this is a battle line. This is a battle line throughout our society, Florida has come down very strong. We have won the battle for now in favor of parents and students.
But I'll tell you, the left is pursuing this battle all across the country. And I think within the next decade, we as a society, are either going to go down the road of saying no parents are central, or we're going to go down the road like California, where they will go so far as to take away custody of your kid if you don't recognize a, "gender transition" of somebody who may be 12 years old. So that's the direction they want to go. That's the stakes of this battle. You also see the stakes of the battle with respect to the economy. What we did in Florida by fighting the lockdowns was very simple. The lockdowns caused the greatest transfer of wealth from working people to big companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, than it's ever happened in modern history.
In Florida, we guaranteed people had the right to work, and that businesses had the right to operate. Working people were able to do well here where they couldn't do it in California and these other places. What happened was, because all these other places were following Fauci for so long, you had the federal government, Congress- they spent and printed trillions and trillions of dollars, borrowed trillions and trillions of dollars. Of course, you're going to have inflation when that happens, that is textbook economics. So the inflation that we've seen has been induced by the federal government's own policies and so the people in DC, do better. Some of the other people in the economy that have certain assets may do better, but the average American does much worse as a result of those policies. Bidenomics means you pay more for the necessities of life, the government gets bigger, and China ends up benefiting. We need to rip Bidenomics up, root and branch, and throw it away.
But I'll tell you what they want to do. They have a vision on the economy, and it's basically to exert more control over your daily lives. That's why they're doing things like ESG, environment, and social governance. ESG is basically just window dressing for them to use the economy to be able to impose their agenda on us and agenda they couldn't get through the normal legislative process. And so in Florida, we kneecapped the ESG. It's not allowed in our pension system. And the banks aren't allowed to do social credit scores, which is what the left wants to do. And like they do in China, we also took action to protect Floridians against the imposition of a central bank digital currency, which they want to do. And if you don't know what that is, you should look it up. Because ultimately, the vision with these elites is to have a digital dollar, have a cashless society, not allow things like Bitcoin, and then they control every one of your financial transactions. And you have people in Davos, Switzerland, these elites who will say, 'Oh, yeah, once you do that, you can prevent, quote, problematic purchases, like gasoline or ammunition, whatever they don't want you to have,' they'll just say you can't do it. So it's a huge threat to freedom, we responded very quickly, I can tell you, January 20, 2025, I'll get into Washington, and we are ending CBDC once and for all. Don't worry about that.
But they want to control, and they want to go after our energy independence because that's a way that they can force people into things like electric vehicles. And if you want an electric vehicle, God bless you. But you should not be forced to do that. A lot of people can't even afford it. And who benefits when they have electric vehicle mandates? China benefits because they make most of the stuff that goes into these electric vehicles. So, we're going to unleash America's energy independence, our oil and our gas to make sure you have affordable, reliable energy. Because I can tell you when we have hurricanes come through Florida, one of the first things you do search and rescue, of course, all that, but the first thing after that is get the power back on. I didn't rely on windmills to get the power back on we need the traditional energy. That's what happens. So, we'll do that. And that'll be something that's very, very significant.
Another thing Biden is doing is he is so subservient to President Xi Jinping and the CCP. They're trying this policy of appeasement. Basically, they're trying to play, quote, "nice with China," they say, 'Oh, well, you know, we're just kind of, you know, in a friendly competition with China,' let me tell you, the CCP is a threat to this country. They want to dominate this entire world; they want to dominate our economy even more than they already have. And if we don't get smart about this, both dealing with the nonsense that we have here at home with woke ideology, but also don't get serious about countering Chinese expansionism. 30 years from now, our kids are going to be learning to memorize 37 different pronouns in Mandarin. So, this is something that's very significant. And we're going to do, but that means having key things produced in the United States, like we need to, you can't rely on China for key things affecting ammunition, affecting pharmaceuticals, and affecting things that are really central to our national survival. So there'll be a new sheriff in town on January 20, 2025. And the CCP should just be prepared for that. And they already can look in Florida because we were right, I think we were the first state to say we're not allowing the CCP to buy land in the state of Florida. And that's the right thing to do.
But what motivates the Left is, you know, they are pursuing basically a religion. It's not a traditional religion as we would practice. But it's a religion based on leftist ideology. And I think the most recent iteration of this is this woke mind virus. But at the end of the day, what they're pursuing is a form of Cultural Marxism. They are waging a war on merit and a war on achievement. And they are trying to elevate identity politics as the most important thing in American life. They are in effect waging a war on truth itself. And because they're waging a war on truth, we have no other alternative but to wage a war on woke, and that's exactly what we've done in the state of Florida. We beat the woke in the schools, we beat the woke in the corporations, and we beat the woke in the halls of the legislature. There are some people that will say 'I you know, this woke stuff who really cares, I don't know, I don't like talking about it all this other stuff.' First of all, there is value in having your society rooted in the truth. I refuse to accept that a man can get pregnant because it's not true, but yet they want us to accept that. So there's value in just speaking the truth.
But even putting that aside, when woke, ideology infects institutions, it has an impact on your daily life. If things like ESG are allowed to take over our economy, the average person will become poor. As a result of that happening. When woke ideology overtakes our education system, the average student will be subjected to left-wing indoctrination, and they will become much dumber as a result of that, when woke ideology overtakes things like the criminal justice system, like we've seen in places like San Francisco, like we've seen in places like Los Angeles, the average citizen becomes less safe as a result of that. And you see these prosecutors who've been elected a lot of times with financial support from people like George Soros, and they get into office, they say, 'we're not going to enforce the law,' you can mug somebody, you can rob them, you can do all this stuff. And they basically let the criminals go. Well, crime goes up, society starts to break down into total disaster, when we had one of those prosecutors in Florida, who said he wasn't going to enforce laws [that] he didn't like, I removed him from his post, he is gone.
So woke is a fight. It's a fight, we need to win. We have done it in Florida, not only with what we've done by removing critical race theory from our schools, eliminating the so called "DEI" from our public universities, but also taking on the woke corporations. And here's the thing, these corporations, they are trying to impose leftism on this society, and they're doing it without any constitutional checks and balances. So, if you want a free society, you got to be sure, yeah, woke is in passing legislation. Of course not. But you also have to protect people's freedoms against this being jammed down their throat, in business, or in education, or in all these other aspects of American life. And that's what we've done in Florida, but this battle rages on throughout the country. And I think what we need to do over the next decade is leave woke ideology in the dustbin of history where it belongs. And we'll get that done.
And one of the things that flows from-- Look, I'm I was in the Navy, you know, I volunteered to serve after 9/11. We served in Iraq and served in a bunch of places. And it's something that I think when you wear the uniform of your country, when you serve alongside other patriots, and you're serving a cause greater than yourself, there's a lot of honor in that. There's a lot of satisfaction that you can derive from that because you're part of something that's meaningful. And I know a lot of veterans feel the same way. And yet, right now, I have veterans coming up to me saying I don't know that I'd recommend my son, daughter, or grandkids to join today's military. Why? Because they're promoting political agenda within the military. The Navy, sad to say, you know, they'll have drag queens to recruit people into the Navy. And I'm thinking to myself, What is going on here? So recruiting is at a generational low, morale is at a generational low. And I can tell you, you're not going to deter China, if you can't get good people to sign up for your military. So, first order of business January 20, 2025, rip the woke out of our nation's military and restore it back to its proper glory.
And I think about kind of the stakes that are in front of us and the battles ahead, Reagan used to say, 'freedom's only one generation away from extinction, it's not passed along in the bloodstream. It needs to be fought for, it needs to be cultivated.' And I agree with that. I used to think it was a little bit of an exaggeration. Because after all, we're Americans we have a Declaration of Independence, we have a Constitution. Isn't freedom just in our DNA? How could it actually be a generation away from extinction? But I think anybody that's lived through the last four or five years should appreciate just how fragile freedom really is in this country. And I know being in South Florida, we have a lot of people who understand the fragility of freedom because they've been in countries that have lost freedom. And this has been the place where people have come to. So freedom is fragile. Our founding fathers absolutely understood this.
When they went to Philadelphia in 1787, to create our Constitution, they came armed with having studied the history of every republic in all of human history, so that they can divine the lessons from what had happened in those prior Republic's. And what they found was that there was really only one thing that all these different Republic's had in common it was this, every one of them had failed. And so they understood it fell to the United States of America to determine, can people really govern themselves. Can you have a society based on the idea that our rights come from God, not from the government, that we live under a rule of law, not under the rule of individual men? Or was mankind forever destined to live under various forms of despotism? And they firmly expected this country would answer that question for all of human history. And when Benjamin Franklin walked out of the convention, he was asked, 'did you create a republic or a monarchy?' And Franklin said, 'a republic, if you can keep it.'
They understood that each generation would have to step up to the plate and defend freedom, and this is our generation's time to stand up when the chips are down in this country, and say, not on our watch, we are not going to let this great heritage of freedom be diminished. And I'm motivated to do this partially because I'm a dad with kids, I look forward to them growing up in a society that's prosperous, where they have opportunity. And I know many of you are concerned about your kids and grandkids, and we should be. But one of my motivations for fighting the fight is I understand there's been a lot of people throughout American history that have sacrificed so that we could be free.
I used to go up to Washington, DC and fly into Reagan airport. And one of the routes you could take going into Reagan airport, you would go flush parallel to the National Mall. So if you looked out the left side of the plane, you'd see really up close, jaw-dropping views of the Lincoln Memorial of the reflecting pool, the Washington Monument, and then out in the distance perched on top of a hill, the beautiful US Capitol building, and you feel a sense of pride because those monuments those buildings, they represent the ideals that this country has aspired to. But what I figured out after doing that trip a few times, the best monuments that we have to America, were actually not found outside the left side of the plane. Because if you looked out the right side of the plane, you looked over the Potomac River, you saw very small, nondescript monuments, orderly arranged over the rolling hills of a place called Arlington National Cemetery. And it occurred to me that, you know, you can have the best Declaration of Independence in the world, you can have the best constitution in the world. But if you don't have people that are willing to stand up, put on a uniform risked their lives and indeed give their lives in the last full measure of devotion for this country, then none of those documents, ideals, presidents, leaders, are going to amount to very much. This does not run on autopilot.
It does not run on autopilot and requires us to stand firm for the truth. A requires us to be resolute in defense of the enduring principles that have made this country what it is, and it requires us to have courage under fire. In this day and age with the left controlling the media, and tech, and entertainment, and even business and academia. When you stand for the truth, you will face consequences for that. And it could be a guy like me, who's a governor, you know, running, of course, I'm going to take arrows, I'm proud to take arrows, I'd rather take them so you don't have to.
But it's not just people like me, you could be a mother going to a school board meeting. If you're speaking the truth, do you think you're going to be treated well by the media? Do you think you're going to be treated well, by the left? No, they're going to come at you. They're going to attack you. And so freedom has a cost, preserving freedom has a cost. Leadership has a cost, and you got to be willing to stand your ground when you're in that cauldron, standing in the breach, and say you know what? I am not going to back down not one inch, here I stand, and I'm going to stand for the truth and if we do that over these next-- If we as Republicans just do that, over the next year and a half, then I think we're going to end up in a situation where we're going to have a very good election in 2024.
But here's the deal, we have developed, outside of Florida, and Iowa, and a couple other states, Republicans have developed a culture of losing where they lose winnable races. A lot of times there will be rationalizations for why you lose, there'll be recriminations. Meanwhile, the Democrats get in, and they continue their march towards more leftist government. The time for excuses is over. We're not getting a mulligan in the 2024 election. We've got to step up to the plate, and we have to get it done. And I know all of you are going to be in that fight. I am going to be in that fight. And I'll tell you, we're going to do for America, what we've been able to do for the state of Florida. God bless you all. Thank you. Thanks so much.
Ron DeSantis, Remarks at the Miami-Dade County Lincoln Day Dinner in Aventura, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/364050