by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 18, 2023) — As of 8:12 AM EST Wednesday, “#DeSantis 2024” trended in third place on Twitter.
In recent months, the now-second-term Florida governor’s name has been floated as an alternative to 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump, who declared his candidacy on November 15.
During his first term in office, DeSantis (R) stood out as a chief executive who rejected COVID-19 vaccine mandates, mask mandates for children in school, general shutdowns stemming from the pandemic and COVID “vaccines” for children under the age of five.
On Tuesday, DeSantis announced further rejections of “coercive biomedical policies” on a permanent basis which he said include “COVID vax passports, COVID vax & mask requirements to attend any school, Any COVID mask requirements,” and “All discrimination based on vax or booster status.”
When asked during his recent campaign whether or not he had his sights set on a 2024 presidential run, DeSantis uniformly responded that he was focused on serving a second gubernatorial term.
Since DeSantis began governing in Florida in 2019, many Americans flocked to the state not only for the weather, but because of the increased “freedom” they saw there as opposed to other states, particularly in the Northeast, where more restrictive pandemic policies reigned for prolonged periods of time and such requirements as masking in medical facilities remained in place.
According to the Palm Beach Post in February of last year, “More than 547,000 people exchanged out-of-state driver’s licenses last year for ones with Sunshine State addresses. That’s a 40% increase from 2020 and nearly 20% greater than the five-year average between 2017 and 2021.”
In a January 12 press conference, DeSantis announced his “Freedom Blueprint,” which includes the above measures as well as tax cuts; a prohibition against Chinese acquisition of Florida land and private property; increasing teachers’ salaries but a cessation to the automatic deduction of union dues; reducing the cost of prescription medications; and permitting open carry of firearms without a permit.
DeSantis also intends to strictly enforce employers’ use of E-Verify to screen out illegal aliens and last month asked all business owners found to be out of compliance to provide an affidavit to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) indicating any illegals have been terminated.
Trump has claimed to have been the catalyst for DeSantis’s first successful gubernatorial run and on Monday said he “will handle” the situation if DeSantis decides to declare himself a 2024 presidential candidate.
Trump’s remark was not lost on the mainstream media.
Prior to announcing his 2024 candidacy, Trump suggested he would “certainly consider” DeSantis as a vice-presidential running mate. However, there could be a 12th-Amendment issue if both a presidential ticket contains a vice-presidential candidate hailing from the same state.
Some Republicans have indicated they prefer DeSantis to a second Trump term. According to Florida Politics on Tuesday, Republicans in Mississippi, which has open primaries, Trump maintains a healthy lead over DeSantis as a result of a Siena College Research Institute poll.
Update, 11:00 a.m. EST: Minutes ago, former Trump 2016 informal adviser Roger Stone, who received a pardon from Trump shortly before he left office, published a Substack column titled, “The Not-So-Secret Plan Of Governor Ron DeSantis” in which he wrote, “In the worst kept secret in the political world, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is preparing a campaign to challenge former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.” Stone also questioned DeSantis’s decision last winter to sign legislation prohibiting the filing of lawsuits against medical providers arising from “COVID-19-related injuries, deaths and refusal to try available treatment.”