Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Sarasota on May 15, 2023 (photo credit: Screenshot from Florida Channel)
Gov. Ron DeSantis would not confirm a report Monday that he is expected to announce his candidacy for president of the United States within the next two weeks.
NBC News reported over the weekend that the Florida governor was set to move his political operations into a new building in Tallahassee on Monday, and that the move was expected to cost more than $5,000, which would then require him to file paperwork with federal election officials within the next 15 days.
But when asked about that report at a news conference in Sarasota on Monday, DeSantis would only acknowledge that his political operation was bulking up. He said nothing about an expected date to kick off his presidential campaign.
He also added that “the (political) attacks have ramped up, we’ve had to create some cover for us. Not only in our office but out there, so there’s a variety of things that go into that.”
DeSantis then pivoted back to his duties as governor and indicated that his next major project would be to sign the record $117 billion state budget passed by the Legislature earlier this month. He reminded the audience at the news conference that he set a record of more than $3 billion in line-item vetoes when he signed last year’s budget, but added that “I don’t anticipate that being necessary this year, but we’ll see.”
While campaigning in Iowa on Saturday, DeSantis said that the GOP needs to reject “a culture of losing” that he said had “infected” the party in recent years. He was asked by a reporter on Monday if that meant that he was acknowledging that Donald Trump had in fact lost the presidential election in 2020, something that the former president again refused to admit during his townhall meeting on CNN last week.
DeSantis didn’t take the bait on Trump, but instead recounted how the GOP lost the House to Democrats in 2018, Biden won in 2020, and that a “red wave” that was supposed to sweep the nation and boost Republicans in 2022 failed to materialize, other than in Florida and Iowa.
“I think in Florida we really showed what it takes to not just win, win big, and then deliver big,” he said. “And ultimately when you’re doing all this, what results are you producing for people? That’s really what matters.”
DeSantis was in Sarasota, at New College, a public liberal arts college, to sign three education bills.
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