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In inauguration speech, DeSantis highlights Florida as success story amid speculation about 2024 plans

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis laid into the federal authorities and Democratic-run states, and portrayed Florida as “a citadel for freedom,” “the place ‘woke’ goes to die,” and as an total mannequin for the nation, within the inauguration speech Tuesday for his second time period.

Desantis, who is commonly floated as a possible 2024 GOP presidential contender, ridiculed what he known as a “floundering federal institution in Washington D.C.,” highlighting the inflation price, its response to COVID-19, and the migrant disaster on the southern border – all frequent criticisms of President Biden’s tenure by Republicans nationwide. He mentioned many Individuals are “pessimistic concerning the nation’s future.”

“Florida is proof constructive that we the persons are not destined for failure. Decline is a selection. Success is attainable, and freedom is price preventing for,” he mentioned. 

The governor contrasted himself with different Democratic-run states, noting Florida has a excessive net-migration price, and he disparaged different states “embraced faddish ideology” exemplified by legal justice reform that “coddled criminals” and “medical authoritarianism within the guise of pandemic mandates and restrictions.”

“The insurance policies pursued by the states have sparked a mass exodus of productive Individuals from these jurisdictions, with Florida serving as essentially the most desired vacation spot, a promised land of sanity,” he mentioned. 

DeSantis’ inauguration speech to over 3,000 attendees was the one public occasion in a two-day affair to rejoice the start of his second time period as governor, in addition to a possibility for political donors to get entry and face time with the potential 2024 candidate. 

On Monday night time, there was an intimate candlelit dinner with donors and members of the governor’s cupboard that was catered by Carbone, an Italian-American restaurant that originated in New York Metropolis and opened a location in Miami through the pandemic, based on one occasion attendee.

Earlier than his speech, DeSantis held a “Florida Religion Leaders Prayer” occasion. Tuesday afternoon, Florida first girl Casey DeSantis held a “Toast to One Million Mamas” occasion to thank and acknowledge a coalition of girls voters she labored to end up throughout DeSantis’ 2022 marketing campaign.

On Tuesday night, there can be a bigger inauguration ball with donors and supporters. 

There have been inauguration fundraising packages that ranged from $25,000 to $1 million, with 5 of the $1-million-dollar packages out there. The cash raised will go to the Florida Republican Occasion. 

One attendee mentioned there is a “lot of vitality and curiosity” on this inauguration in comparison with previous ones due to DeSantis’ political stature heading into the 2024 election cycle. 

However Rick Wagner, a Florida Atlantic College political scientist, mentioned DeSantis appeared to maintain “most of his powder dry” by not making any apparent remarks suggesting a 2024 run. 

“I feel everybody wished extra clues as to the alternatives he’ll make about what he’ll do sooner or later, and I do not assume he actually gave us any of that,” he mentioned. “He targeted on the problems that he and his marketing campaign believed had been profitable in Florida. And it is arduous to argue an excessive amount of with that, he had a really profitable run.”

Florida was a shiny political spot for the Republican occasion throughout an in any other case lackluster midterm efficiency in 2022. DeSantis’ gerrymandered Congressional map helped the Republican occasion acquire 4 extra seats within the U.S. Home and helped safe a skinny majority. His almost 20-point-win over Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist was the biggest margin of victory for the place since 1982

DeSantis has confirmed to be an efficient fundraiser as nicely, accumulating almost $200 million for his reelection effort, with $5.5 million of that coming in November 2022 alone. 

His marketing campaign reported about $60 million money available after his reelection victory, which may very well be transferred to a committee to help DeSantis if he decides to run for president in 2024. 

DeSantis batted down any plans for 2024 throughout his re-election marketing campaign, focusing as an alternative on the legislative session in 2023, the place his new Republican supermajority might take motion on all the pieces from taxes, to what asset managers invest in, to constitutional carry of a firearm, to additional abortion restrictions. 

Democrats have already got their eye on DeSantis. Democratic Nationwide Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa put out a press release earlier than DeSantis’ inauguration remarks that criticized the Florida Legislature’s potential abortion ban invoice and DeSantis’ investigation into any “wrongdoing” associated to the COVID-19 vaccines and its efficacy. 

“Because the 2024 GOP major shapes up, it is clear Republicans will race to out-MAGA one another, and DeSantis is not any completely different,” Moussa mentioned. 

The Florida Legislature is scheduled to convene in March and adjourn in Could, after which DeSantis might doubtlessly leap into the 2024 fray. 

Trump took aim at his potential major rival in November 2022 when he known as him “Ron DeSanctimonious.” DeSantis brushed it apart, and said in November 2022 “on the finish of the day, I might simply inform individuals to go try the scoreboard.”

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