On Sunday, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, widely considered a leading candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, slammed the Biden administration for its policies regarding the southern border of the United States, where a surge of illegal immigrants has flooded the area and left border patrol sounding the alarm over the crisis. DeSantis fired that under former President Trump the border was under control, but that the Biden administration “created this crisis. … I think that this is intentional. I think this is ideological.”
DeSantis also noted that the recently-passed $1.9 COVID relief bill rewarded Democratic-run states that had damaged their economies with strict lockdowns rather than states like Florida, which had acted to make sure their economies stayed afloat, blasting, “It’s effectively a transfer of money from states like Florida and Georgia to states like New York, Illinois, and California. It stinks to high heaven.”
Additionally, DeSantis asserted that his state would not tolerate the kinds of rioting and looting that have plagued other states, pledging, “We’re targeting local governments. If they try to … indulge in these kinds of insane fantasies like defunding law enforcement, the state will take action and defund them as municipalities. … Anybody that wears a uniform, don’t have any doubt: the state of Florida stands with you.”
DeSantis made the comments during an appearance on Fox News with Judge Jeanine Pirro, who prompted his remarks by asserting that the crisis at the border amounted to more than just a simple change in policy.
DeSantis stated: “Well, it obviously is a disastrous change in policy, Judge. If you look, Donald Trump had obviously the wall, which we all supported, but also safe third-party agreements, as well as ‘Remain in Mexico.’ And guess what happened? The border was under control. So they’ve gone back on those policies, and they’ve created this crisis. But I think that this is intentional. I think this is ideological. I think that they’re getting bit by this, politically now. But I think that this was something that they absolutely anticipated.”
“So it’s a disastrous way to start an administration,” he continued. “I think most of the American people are going to be strongly opposed to this, and hopefully they’ll reverse course. You know, in Florida, though, we’re ready. When I became governor, we banned sanctuary cities, and we also did E-Verify. And so that’s not going to work in Florida, and hopefully we can do those policies nationwide at some point. But there, Biden is going in the absolute wrong direction. Trump had it right at the border; Biden’s got it wrong.”
Pirro compared DeSantis’ governance of Florida to Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s governance in New York, asking, “You got it right. How did you do it?”
“Well, Judge, we just tried to look at the whole society. We wanted to look out for everybody,” DeSantis replied. “We viewed this as a virus that was particularly dangerous for elderly people but not as dangerous for younger people, so we did the opposite on nursing homes: we banned hospitals from sending infected patients to nursing homes. We also did things like prioritize our seniors for vaccinations. But we had kids in school; it’s very important that they have the opportunity to go to school in person. We also saved the economy from collapse; our unemployment rate right now is 4.9 %. So we did all those things even with one of the most elderly populations in the country and our per capita COVID mortality is less than the national average and far less than lockdown states like New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.”
Pirro opined that the recently-passed $1.9 COVID relief bill rewarded Democratic-run states that had damaged their economies with strict lockdowns while punishing states like Florida, which had acted to make sure their economies stayed afloat.
DeSantis replied, “Exactly. We are getting penalized by about $2 billion because we have low unemployment, because we saved the economy, because also we have lower COVID mortality than a lot of these lockdown states. So what this bill does is say, ‘If you locked down, if you destroyed your state; if you destroyed your economy, and you failed to stop COVID as well, you’re going to get a windfall.’ Some of these lockdown states are getting an extra billion, two billion, three billion dollars, so it’s effectively a transfer of money from states like Florida and Georgia to states like New York, Illinois, and California. It stinks to high heaven.”
Pirro noted the rioting going on in Portland, then compared DeSantis’ no-nonsense approach to breaking the law in Florida.
DeSantis responded: “Not only that Judge; we’re targeting local governments. If they try to … indulge in these kinds of insane fantasies like defunding law enforcement, the state will take action and defund them as municipalities. And also, if you’re involved in rioting or looting or any of this: you’re going to jail. You want to talk about bail? We’re obviously not going to eliminate bail like these crazy states will do, but if you’re involved in a violent assembly, you’re not getting bail. You gotta stay in bail until you go in front of a judge, and I think that that is going to be a good disincentive.”
He concluded, “But as we look forward, I think you’re going to see more of this around the country and we’re setting a marker down in Florida. We’re not tolerating it, and anybody that wears a uniform, don’t have any doubt: the state of Florida stands with you.”