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Ron DeSantis


Ron DeSantis is a highly ambitious, fast-rising right-wing Republican who has risen to power through Trump and is now challenging his dominance of the GOP. “By governing the way he’s governed, by running for reelection the way that he has, DeSantis is all but already running for president and has been for a while,” Politico pointed out in October 2022. Although Trump endorsed him in 2018 and takes full credit for his gubernatorial win and although DeSantis fully aligned himself with the ex-president and became an outspoken proponent of the Big Lie, there is no trust or friendship between the dueling opportunists. In fact, DeSantis snubbed Trump’s potential endorsement of his 2022 gubernatorial campaign.

Prior to serving as governor, DeSantis was first elected to Congress in 2012 and served three terms, representing Florida’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013–19. As a congressman, he helped found the House Freedom Caucus, an outgrowth of the right-wing Tea Party movement. 

As governor, DeSantis refused to declare a state of emergency in Florida as Covid-19 cases grew in 2020. During that period, he allied himself with the state’s business groups lobbying against pandemic-related shut-downs, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Other noteworthy legislative acts include his passage of a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and a bill banning trans girls from participating in school athletics. In March 2022, DeSantis continued to stoke anti-LGBTQ sentiment by signing into law a bill prohibiting educators in public schools from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. 

In September 2022, DeSantis ordered migrants who were awaiting immigration proceedings in Texas to be flown to Martha’s Vineyard at Florida’s expense, using them as political pawns in a stunt to gain publicity and presumably shame Democrats and the Biden administration over lack of progress on immigration reform. “Every community in America should be sharing in the burdens,” DeSantis said in defense of flying migrants to the island without any notification to authorities. “It shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states.”

January 6, 2021

  • Although DeSantis initially spoke out against the riot at the Capitol, a year later—on Jan. 6, 2022 anniversary of the insurrection—he denounced commemorations of the event, calling them a “smear” against Trump supporters.

The Big Lie

  • During a Nov. 5, 2020 appearance on Laura Ingraham’s Fox show, DeSantis urged voters in swing states to contact their representatives seeking “remedies” to the election. He also encouraged his audience to donate to Trump’s legal fund. 
  • In the days following the election, DeSantis refused to recognize Biden as the president-elect.
  • While addressing a group of lobbyists on Dec. 3, 2020, DeSantis said he had urged Trump to “fight on” as he attempted to overturn the results of the presidential election.
  • On June 17, 2021, DeSantis refused to answer whether he thought the presidential election had been rigged. 
  • On April 25, 2022, DeSantis signed into law a bill creating a police force in Florida charged with seeking out election fraud, thereby bolstering the myth that election fraud is common and widespread in the U.S. and affected the results of the 2020 presidential election.