Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called his state an “oasis of freedom” on Friday during his speech to CPAC.
The governor, who has followed a strategy of remaining open during the coronavirus pandemic, welcomed attendees from across the country to the Sunshine State.
“We are an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering in many parts of the country under the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,” DeSantis said.
“We see schools closed, businesses shuttered, and lives destroyed,” he said.
The governor contrasted his strategy with others left unnamed, likely meaning New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), among others.
“And while so many governors over the last year had kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up,” DeSantis said to cheers.
He argued the state is stronger and residents are “happier” because of the strategy.
“Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong,” DeSantis declared, repeating his message of personal liberty that has dominated since the viral pandemic began.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) extended his order blocking local governments from enforcing mask mandates across the Sunshine State. https://t.co/6Sc6ILY4p8
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 25, 2020
The governor touted his election reform agenda, which he announced last week.
DeSantis is seeking to restore integrity to the process by increasing transparency and oversight during the ballot-counting process, and increasing security for absentee ballots.
He singled out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and said private donations will not be allowed to interfere in “the administration of our elections.”
DeSantis indicated a new Republican Party is here to stay.
“We don’t spout hollow rhetoric. We take decisive action,” he said.
“We cannot, we will not go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,” he said, prompting wild cheers from the crowd.
DeSantis memorialized Rush Limbaugh.
“Rush showed that fighting the left requires strength and that conservatism devoid of backbone is doomed to fail,” he said.