Though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is often the target of pointed barbs from Democrats – and also from onetime allies in his own party – Salena Zito of the Washington Examiner reports that he is succeeding when it comes to keeping his eye on what has always been his top priority – defeating the agenda and ideological creep of President Joe Biden’s administration.
Amid the endless slings and arrows that come with his job, DeSantis has emphatically declared, as Zito notes, “I have the responsibility to govern a state, and I’ve got to focus on delivering results. I’ve also got to protect the people against Biden’s policies, and so when I’m getting in fights, I’m fighting Biden.”
Battle on multiple fronts
From the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to the present day, DeSantis has long been a favorite target of Democrats in general and Biden in particular.
Earlier this month, the president took aim at the governor during a visit to Tampa, slamming his refusal to participate in the expansion of Medicaid in his state, saying, “Over 1.1 million people in Florida would be eligible for Medicaid if Gov. DeSantis just said, ‘I agree to expand it.’ This isn’t calculus,”
While those types of remarks are perhaps to be expected from the opposite side of the political aisle, DeSantis has also faced increasingly threatening salvos from onetime ally Donald Trump, widely viewed as the governor’s main rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, should he decided to seek it.
In recent months, Trump has derisively referred to DeSantis as “Ron DeSanctimonious”and declared him disloyal for even contemplating a 2024 run, cryptically stating, “I hear he might want to run against me, so we’ll handle that the way I handle things.”
Those distractions and irritations aside, DeSantis remains, according to Zito, fully focused on the bigger picture, namely, ending the policies of the Biden administration and delivering results to those he serves.
One of the most significant ways in which DeSantis is fighting back is by committing to a program of education reform in Florida that could perhaps take root in other parts of the country under the right leadership.
In particular, DeSantis has embarked on a series of higher education reforms that emphasize civics, eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion programming, and shine a spotlight on the potential abuses of the tenure system in public colleges and universities.
“The thing about it is, as a state university system, they are funded by Floridians, by taxpayers. They don’t have the right to do whatever the heck they want to do on our dime, so we have the right and, actually, the responsibility to say, ‘What’s the purpose of higher education, what are we trying to get out of this, and what’s in the best interest of the state of Florida?’ and then put that vision into reality,” DeSantis explained.
Battling broader capture
Noting that the ideological creep embodied by the Biden administration has infiltrated not just academia, but also corporate boardrooms, public school classrooms, and more, DeSantis says that phenomenon is something he is determined to thwart at every possible turn.
“You have companies doing the [Environmental, social and governance], where they’re trying to impose a leftist worldview on society through their economic power. You have K-12 schools where you have school unions, who are very partisan, trying to impose certain ideology,” DeSantis said.
The chief executive continued, “So my job as governor, we are the free state of Florida, but that means I need to defend threats to freedom across the board. I can’t just say, ‘If it’s not government doing it, then why do you care?’”
DeSantis, according to Zito, remains somewhat surprised by the interest his approach has generated, not just in Florida, but also, as he put it, “from Washington state, Alabama, all over the place,” and while he has not officially thrown his hat into the ring for 2024, it seems clear that the governor sees calling as one that necessarily extends far beyond the Sunshine State.