How Governor DeSantis’ tone has changed since his first inauguration in 2019

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Matthew Seaver

Governor DeSantis’ second term as Florida’s governor starts this week, and his focus has changed since 2019.

In January 2019, Ron DeSantis modestly accepted the reigns of power in Florida. He won the governor’s race by just 32,000 votes. During his inaugural address, DeSantis sounded bipartisan themes starting with the environment.

“I will lead the efforts to save our waterways. We will fight toxic blue-green algae, we will fight discharges from Lake Okeechobee, we will fight red tide,” said DeSantis in 2019.

By November 2022, DeSantis’ tone changed. Gone was any semblance of working with Democrats. He’d just won re-election by a million and a half votes.

“States and cities governed by leftist politicians have seen crime skyrocket, they’ve seen their taxpayers abused, they’ve seen medical authoritarianism imposed, and they’ve seen American principles discarded. The woke agenda has caused millions of Americans to leave this jurisdictions for greener pastures,” said DeSantis.

Those greener pastures, DeSantis said, are in Florida.

During his first term, there was the pandemic. “We made sure to choose freedom over Fauci. Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.” And the election of Joe Biden. “Joe Biden is the worst president of my lifetime,” DeSantis said.

Political Scientist Aubrey Jewett believes the governor’s rhetoric the last four years foreshadows what’s to come during his second inaugural address on Tuesday.

“I think he will be looking forward for sure. And I think it will be a much more conservative, assertive speech,” said Jewett.

What about the issues that are top of mind to many Floridians today, like affordable housing, property insurance, cost of living, and the environment?

Jewett said a much more conservative tone doesn’t mean those issues are at the top of the governor’s to-do list. “I think he will hit a number of conservative wedge issues that he thinks, that he wants to pursue in this legislative session, but also that he thinks will be appealing to Republicans and conservatives around the country.”

Jewett told WINK News, even though DeSantis has been quiet about running, that could change as the competition heats up and more candidates announce they’re running, aside from former president Trump.

Jewett predicts DeSantis will announce he’s running in about a year.

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