TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis previewed what Americans can expect from his administration if they vote him into the White House in 2024.
The governor spoke with Fox News’ Trey Gowdy on Wednesday evening for his first television interview since making his candidacy official.
For over half an hour, the former South Carolina Congressman pressed DeSantis on an array of hot-button issues.
ON FIGHTING THE CULTURE WAR
The governor has built a reputation for waging war against the Left’s “woke” ideology on social issues. He has decried the genital mutilation of children, sexually explicit books in school libraries and Marxist ideas about classifying people as victims or oppressors based on race and gender.
“The woke mind virus is basically a form of cultural Marxism,” he said. “It's an attack on the truth – and because it’s a war on truth, I think we have no choice but to wage a war on woke.”
Gowdy asked DeSantis how he would approach these issues as the nation’s chief executive.
“Some of that may be the bully pulpit – being willing to tell the truth and not being diluted by ideology,” the governor said. “Certainly, when you look at ESG and some of the things that’s going on in major financial institutions in corporate America, we have every right to be pushing back on that.”
DeSantis also pointed to the federal government’s role in giving accreditation to universities.
“There’s a reason why universities are infested with things like DEI. Yeah, some of it is they may want to do that, but some of it is the accreditors tell them: ‘You have to do that,’” he said. “As President, I’ll make sure we’re approving accreditors that are going to do the opposite. That are going to say: ‘We’ll accredit you if you’re colorblind as a university, if you’re not trying to divide people on the basis of race.’”
DESANTIS: "No, I would not keep Chris Wray as director of the FBI. There would be a new one on Day One." pic.twitter.com/vxGPUS8lgi— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) May 25, 2023
When asked about the border crisis, DeSantis said he would declare it a national emergency on day one and work toward finishing the border wall.
“We'll mobilize all resources to construct the border wall, shut [it] down,” he said. “We're not going to be entertaining asylum claims for people coming across the border illegally. … Nobody has a right to come to our country illegally.”
ON THE DOJ, FBI AND HIS ATTORNEY GENERAL
DeSantis also bemoaned the lack of accountability in federal law enforcement agencies and said he would fire FBI Director Chris Wray on day one of his presidency.
“The Department of Justice and FBI have lost their way. They've been weaponized against Americans who think like me and you,” he told the former Republican Congressman. “Republican presidents have accepted the canard that the DOJ and FBI are ‘Independent.’ They are not independent agencies, they are part of the executive branch. They answer to the elected president of the United States.”
The governor promised he would be more involved in holding federal agencies accountable and expounded on what traits he wants in an attorney general.
“You need somebody that's got a really strong backbone,” he said. “You need somebody that knows if you’re going in there and you’re taking care of business, The Washington Post is not going to like you. The New York Times is not going to like you. You’re going to get attacked by CNN. And you’ve got to wear that as a badge of honor.”
ON NATIONAL SCHOOL CHOICE
Gowdy asked DeSantis to share some of his top legislative priorities and educational reform was at the top of his list.
“One thing I think we can do legislatively is national school choice,” the governor said. “We’ve done it in Florida. It’s made a huge difference for low income families. I look at places like Chicago, Baltimore and LA – the teachers’ unions run those places.”
RON DESANTIS declares SCHOOL CHOICE as one of his top three priorities as president: pic.twitter.com/TLWf33kCnp— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) May 25, 2023
“I don’t think there’s any way that you’re ever going to give those kids a lifeline unless we come in through a tax credit program and offer scholarships to some of these kids,” he added. “This would be a major lifeline [to those kids]. I think we can get it done and I think it’d make a big difference.”