“Florida Is the Utah of the Southeast,” Says Ron DeSantis, Terrible Panderer

Down in the polls, the likely presidential candidate sought out a friendly audience out west.

Alex Brandon/ AP

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After a recent poll put him 13 points behind Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, Ron DeSantis decided to lick his wounds and head to Utah, a state where he might actually be more popular than the former president. On Saturday, the Florida governor spoke at the state’s GOP convention, where, amongst pleasantries, promises, and his trademark attacks on wokeness, he declared, “Florida is the Utah of the Southeast.” (We’re still awaiting word, however, on whether Utah is the Florida of the Mountain West.)

DeSantis, who has not officially announced his bid for the presidency, was met with cheers and applause by Utah’s GOP delegates during his speech, in which he once again slammed Disney and said Florida would “eliminate DEI at all our public universities,” “kneecap ESG” (as he called it, “woke banking”),— and “prohibit for minors, gender surgeries and puberty blockers.” 

DeSantis’ stop in Utah was a predictable one: Last November, 86 Utah elected officials, including Republican lawmakers, signed a letter begging for DeSantis to run for president in 2024. While they didn’t mention Donald Trump by name, KSL News reported that the letter appeared to rebuke Trump and the far-right wing of the Republican Party. 

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