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Gov. DeSantis kicks off CPAC: ‘Florida’s leading on the issues that matter to conservatives’

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 1:41 PM EST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday morning.

“Florida’s leading on the issues that matter to conservatives. We don’t spout hollow rhetoric. We take decisive action. And what’s true in Florida is what’s true for conservatives across this nation,” said DeSantis.

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During his speech, DeSants touted the state’s lack of coronavirus restrictions mandated by the state.

“We are in an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,’' said the governor. “We look around in other parts of our country, and in far too many places, we see schools closed, businesses shuttered and lives destroyed. And while so many governors over the last year kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up.

“Florida got it right, and the lockdown states got it wrong.”

DeSantis’ name has been connected to a possible presidential run in recent week - with Rep. Matt Gaetz floating the prospect during a FOX News appearance.

“When the left comes after you, will you stay strong? Or will you fall?” he said. “[When] you engage in the battles said, hold the line. Stand your ground and don’t ever, ever back down.”

During this year’s CPAC, many of the panels will discuss former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about election fraud. Last week DeSantis unveiled a slate of voting proposals that would restrict the mass mailing of mail-in-ballots and access to ballot drop boxes. The governor

“Florida has also led and continues to lead on ensuring the integrity of our elections,” DeSantis said. “On election night by midnight, the state of Florida had counted, tabulated, and put out 11 million votes.”

Florida allows mail-in votes to be counted well before Election Day, something that is not allowed in several other states including Pennsylvania.

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“We weren’t going to rest on our laurels this year,” DeSantis said. “Florida’s leading on banning all forms of ballot harvesting and bans on third party political groups like those funded by billionaire Mark Zuckerberg from interfering in the administration of our elections.”

The Florida governor’s speech also centered around several popular talking points among the conservative base.

“We cannot, we will not go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,” he said. “We reject open borders and instead support American sovereignty and the American worker. Building a movement on the foundation of amnesty and cheap foreign labor is like building a house on a field of quicksand.

“We reject weakness in the face of the threat posed by China including their action in international trade. We reject military adventurism and instead support a strong defense solely for the purpose of protecting this nation and its people.,” he added. “At this moment in our history...standing for the right things comes at a cost. You will be attacked. You will be smeared. You may even be canceled by the major organs of the political left.

“Now, anyone can spout conservative rhetoric. We can sit around and have academic debates about conservative policy. I’m not saying you don’t do any of that. But the question is, when the Klieg lights get hot, when the left comes after you, will you stay strong, or will you fold?”

DeSantis also took some time in his speech to remember his “friend,” Rush Limbaugh.

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The event is from Feb. 25 - 28 and is being held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Others speaking at CPAC include former president Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sen. Rick Scott, Rep. Kat Cammack, and Jon Voight.

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