Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped by Lee County on Wednesday to talk about water, but he had a lot of other things to say, too.
Every time DeSantis holds a news conference, he has an agenda. His agenda in Lee County was to talk about water quality and conservation.
The crowd on hand cheered.
They also cheered when he went off-topic to talk about COVID, the federal government and the media.
DeSantis loves a standing ovation.
“Hello! Great to be back in Southwest Florida,” he told his audience, including some of his fiercest supporters, at Doc Ford’s neat Fort Myers Beach on Wednesday.
DeSantis managed to include Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden and comments on the media during his stop in Lee County on water quality.
“Servers, bartenders, they were just roadkill for people like Fauci,” DeSantis said.
“It would be irresponsible not to plan for some type of Biden-induced economic slowdown.”
And on the media?
“They’ll try to scare people away, because that’s just what they do. They’re not honest.”
DeSantis is building serious momentum in the Republican Party and not just in Florida. Over the weekend, he beat former President Donald Trump in the annual Western Conservative Summit 2024 straw poll.
A new University of Nevada in Reno study puts DeSantis neck-and-neck with Trump.
But, despite that DeSantis denied any presidential ambition and declined to respond to WINK News’ repeated questions about whether he was running.
“I dont’ do straw polls, they just put my name in there,” DeSantis said. “What am I supposed to do? They sell merchandise, I kinda like to get royalties on that.”
His supporters liked that joke.
WINK News asked if he was considering running.
With a brief stumble he said, “I don’t… I… I’ve addressed that so many times. So, so go ahead,” then quickly addressed the next question.
DeSantis has repeatedly said he is focusing on his job as governor and that he’s not actively planning a run for the White House in 2024.
But as those rumors continue to swirl and his chances continue to improve, he’s going to get the question again and again.