Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis criticized California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom during his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Sunday.
DeSantis began his speech by acknowledging that California is facing many problems and Newsom is more concerned about what Florida is doing.
“I knew you guys got a lot of problems out here, but your governor is very concerned about what we’re doing in Florida, so I figured I had to come by,” DeSantis said.
The main topic of DeSantis's speech was his recently published book, "The Courage to be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival," and his vision for the country.
The Sacramento Bee reported that several high-profile attendees were present at the event, including former Governor Pete Wilson and actor Gary Sinise.
According to Fox News, over 1,300 people attended the event.
DeSantis compared the performances of individual states over the past four or five years, specifically comparing Florida to California, New York, and Illinois.
He emphasized that Florida's governing philosophy differs greatly from that of other states.
According to DeSantis, there has been a significant exodus of Americans from leftist states governed by leftist politicians.
“And if you look over the last four years, we’ve witnessed a great American exodus from states governed by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideology and delivering poor results, and you’ve seen massive gains in states like Florida, who are governing according to the tried and true principles that President Reagan held dear,” he said. “From the beginning of this state’s history, all the way until the last four or five years, people beat a path to California. You didn’t beat a path away from California. And yet now, you see the state hemorrhaging population.”
DeSantis also criticized Newsom's management of California during the coronavirus pandemic, pointing out that Florida had schools open when many other states did not, and they banned vaccine passports.
“I can tell you, we had families move from the Pacific coast just for the fact that we had schools open in Florida, when you didn’t have them open in many other states,” he said. “We did things like ban vaccine passports in the state of Florida. States said, ‘You want to go stay in a hotel, go to a restaurant, you got to cough up your vax papers on these mRNA shots.’ And we said that’s none of their business. Everyone has a right to participate in society. That’s a personal choice that you make whether to take that or not, and we’re not going to let you be excluded.”
Later in his speech, DeSantis criticized the ideology behind politicians like Newsom, calling them out for their left-leaning ideologies and what he referred to as the "woke mind virus." He accused them of mismanaging their states due to their ideological beliefs.
“I think these liberal states have gotten it wrong and why are they getting it wrong? I think it all goes back to ideology,” he said. “And it goes back to this woke mind virus that’s infected the left and all these other institutions. I mean, think about the way they have governed their states.”