Ron DeSantis Talks Leadership: ‘Responding to Polls Is Being a Follower’

Ron DeSantis
Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday delivered a speech to the Florida American Legion Boys State Program, blasting mandates, lockdowns, and politicians who are easily influenced by Washington, DC, and polling rather than their values.

DeSantis touted many of the objectives that Florida has pursued under his leadership and the journey his administration has endured in the face of constant critics.

“But even our worst critics, when it came time for them to make the decisions about how they wanted to spend their time, Florida was the first place they wanted to come,” he said, later discussing his leadership approach, which includes being “cognizant of where all these pressure points are within the system.” The Governor went on, explaining that politicians often “over promise and under deliver, that’s typically what they do.”

And so if I’m trying to do something with, you know, school funding, well, I can’t do that on my own. I need to get the legislature on board for that. If I’m doing something with like an appointment, well, I may be able to do that on my own. There may be other things I can do on my own. So we had kind of a good sense of how we needed to advance the agenda through the various wickets and constraints to be able to actually deliver on our promises and we were able to do that.

In Florida, you know, we set a high bar and a lot of people didn’t think we’d meet it. We have sailed past the bar that We set, we’ve done much more than even I promised and even what people thought was possible, but part of the reason is I think we had a good sense of where we were going.

“The other thing we made the decision on is, I became governor, I’m like, you know what, I’m not doing polling. I’m not going to be one of these politicians that just has the finger in the wind, that’s so worried about kind of this or that,” he said. “You got to do what’s right.”

“And you know, responding to polls is being a follower; that’s not being a leader. A leader will set out a vision will execute on that vision. And then when the results are positive, you know what? People will be with you when you do that,” DeSantis continued.

“So I could take a poll of this room on whatever issue – that’s just a static analysis that doesn’t even tell me what I need to know. What I need to know is that if I embark on an initiative and I explain what I’m doing and I’m successful in doing it, then what would the results be in the room?” he asked, adding that too many politicians “get paralyzed with these polls and they’re so concerned about every little thing in a news cycle.”

“That’s not the way I think a leader operates,” he said. “The leader needs to understand where true north is.”



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