- Governor Ron DeSantis was sworn in for his second term as Florida’s Governor on Tuesday
- The Governor spoke for roughly 15 minutes on the steps of the state Capitol in Tallahassee
- DeSantis’ second inauguration speech was heavy on preserving freedom and rejecting woke ideology
- He also laid out priorities he’ll pursue in the upcoming legislative session
- A likely 2024 GOP presidential contender, DeSantis made no mention of a presidential bid but did leave the door open
Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his second term with an inauguration ceremony on the steps of the historic capitol on Tuesday, just months after a decisive 19-point re-election victory.
All eyes were fixated on the Governor as he highlighted his accomplishments over the last four years, and gave a sneak peek of what’s to come. With the theme “The Free State of Florida” emblazoned behind him, DeSantis delivered an impassioned speech chock-full of red meat lingo and tantalizing seasoning to whet the appetite of connoisseurs wondering if he’ll take a stab at the White House in 2024.
From outlining his “Freedom Agenda” for the 2022 Legislative Session, to a potential trail of breadcrumbs signaling possible national political aspirations, we have you covered.
Here are some of the biggest moments from DeSantis’ second inauguration:
A Beacon of Freedom
DeSantis wasted no time getting his first resounding applause, framing Florida as a last bastion of freedom.
“from the Space Coast to the Sun Coast, from St. Johns to St. Lucie, from the streets of Hialeah to the Speedway in Daytona, from the Okeechobee all the way up to Micanopy, freedom lives here in our great Sunshine State of Florida! It lives in the courage of those who patrol the streets and keep our communities safe, lives in the industry of those who work. long hours to earn a living and raise their families. it lives in the dedication of those who teach our children, lives in the determination of those who grow our food, it lives in the wisdom of our senior citizens. It lives in the dreams of the historic number of families who have moved from states across this country because they saw Florida as the land of liberty and the land of sanity.”
Florida Man vs. Faucism
DeSantis was not afraid to place the crosshairs on Dr. Anthony Fauci and those calling for more lockdowns.
Opponents turned up the heat as a result of his approach, but DeSantis emerged from the fiery furnace unscathed — being largely lauded for his coronavirus playbook while those originally praised, like former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, were burned and turned to ash.
The Governor reminded the entire nation on Tuesday that Florida was the glowing light that cut through the Covid smog.
“Over the past few years, as so many states in our country ground their citizens down, we in Florida lifted our people up. When other states consigned their peoples’ freedom to the dustbin, Florida stood strongly as freedom’s linchpin. When the world lost its mind and common sense suddenly became an uncommon virtue, Florida was a refuge of sanity, a citadel of freedom for our fellow Americans and for people around the world,” he added. “In captaining the ship of state, we choose to navigate the boisterous sea of liberty rather than cower in the calm docs of despotism. We face attacks, we take hits, we weather the storms, we stand our ground, and we do what’s right,” DeSantis said.
“We have refused to use polls and put our finger in the wind. Leaders do not follow, they lead.”
The Mailman Delivers
Admittedly, these two words are in every politician’s handbook. But DeSantis used the short phrase six times to put an exclamation point on all of his accomplishments during his first term.
Taking a well-deserved victory lap, DeSantis highlighted victories that involved education reform, ending judicial activism, ushering in a new era of stewardship for Florida’s natural resources by promoting water quality and Everglades restoration efforts, upholding law and order, and supporting areas devastated by Hurricane Michael and Ian.
Two words carried a lot of weight for the two-time governor.
The Best Is Yet To Come
With session approaching, DeSantis got the ball rolling on what he wants to accomplish this cycle.
“We are number one in the United States and net in migration. We are the nation’s fastest-growing state. We are number one in business formations. We are number one in tourism. We are number one in economic freedom. We ranked number one in parental involvement in education. Florida also ranked number one in public higher education. This is a record we can all be proud of,” DeSantis said.
“But we’re far from done. Florida has accumulated a record budget surplus and we need to enact record tax relief, particularly for Florida families who are grappling with inflation. We must ensure school systems are responsible to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups.
“And we must ensure that our institutes of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideologies,” he noted.
The Greatest Hits
After putting Democrat Charlie Crist “out to pasture” during the 2022 midterms, he addressed a crowd of supporters on election night, slamming woke ideas and philosophies by claiming that the state is “where woke goes to die.”
What was a rallying cry during his campaign became something more that night, morphing into a tagline that embodies DeSantis’ politics.
He brought it out again today, eliciting another thunderous applause.
“We reject this woke ideology. We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy. We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die!”
While much of his speech was a blueprint to build Florida’s, DeSantis briefly addressed the nation and the woes of the Biden administration. DeSantis made no mention of national ambitions or President Joe Biden, but he did not shy away from bashing policies that have “left our nation weaker and our citizens poorer.”
With the nation’s eyes on his inauguration, DeSantis placed a doorstop to keep the presidential path ajar.
“Florida’s success has been made more difficult by the floundering federal establishment in Washington, D.C.,” DeSantis said, adding that issues like COVID-19 restrictions, federal spending and immigration policy have “eroded freedom and stunted commerce.”
“It has recklessly facilitated open borders: making a mockery of the rule of law, allowing massive amounts of narcotics to infest our states, importing criminal aliens, and green lighting the flow of millions of illegal aliens into our country, burdening communities and taxpayers throughout the land,” he continued.
“It has imposed an energy policy that has crippled our nation’s domestic production, causing energy to cost more for our citizens and eroding our nation’s energy security, and, in the process, our national security.
“It wields its authority through a sprawling, unaccountable and out-of-touch bureaucracy that does not act on behalf of us, but instead looms over us and imposes its will upon us.
“The results of this have been predictably dismal,” DeSantis asserted.
Take Up The Mantle
Much like MLB Hall of Famer John Smoltz, DeSantis proved that he could close just as strongly as he could start. DeSantis ended his speech by quoting President James Madison and promising to carry the torch of freedom like those before him.
“Florida has led the way in preserving what the father of our country called the “sacred fire of liberty.
“It is the fire that burned in Independence Hall when 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to establish a new nation conceived in liberty,” DeSantis said.
“It is the fire that burned at a cemetery at Gettysburg when the nation’s first Republican president pledged to this nation a ‘new birth of freedom.’
“It is the fire that burned among the boys who stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate a continent and to preserve freedom for the world.
“It is the fire that infused a young preacher’s dream, relayed at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, that the Declaration of Independence said what it meant and meant what it said: all men are created equal.
“It is the fire that led a resolute president to stand in Berlin and declare “tear down this wall,” staring down the communists and winning the Cold War.
“It is our responsibility here in Florida to carry this torch.
“It is our responsibility in Florida to carry this torch. We do not hide from this responsibility. We welcome it,” DeSantis said. “We will be on our guard, we will stand firm in the faith, we will be courageous, we will be strong, and we thank God and are proud to be citizens of the great, free state of Florida,” he concluded.