PEORIA, Ill. (WTVO) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has yet to announce a bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but he is still warning voters about the powers at play.
DeSantis warned a crowd in Peoria Friday night that if Biden is reelected, as well as other Democrats winning office, “the country is going to be unrecognizable,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The speech, which lasted about 40 minutes at the Peoria Civic Center, saw the Florida governor blame Democrats for “obliterating communities throughout this country.” He also promoted his own ideas on criminal justice and education, which he said are meant to counter “woke ideology.”
“We have no state income tax. You should try it sometime,” DeSantis said.
Protestors gathered outside of the civic center before DeSantis’ speech, calling him a “fascist” and “racist.” The governor has been in hot water with certain groups for having what they call anti-LGBTQ policies.
“Where we find ourselves I think is at a major crossroads. Things are going in the wrong direction. I think we all know that. But they could get a lot worse. If the left is able to win and sweep in 2024, I think the country is going to be unrecognizable,” DeSantis said. “I believe if 2024 is a referendum on Joe Biden, his policies and his failures, and if we as Republicans offer a positive vision going forward in a better direction, Republicans will win across the board.”
In addition to government on the national level, DeSantis also took aim closer to home, digging at Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Pritzker had insulted called DeSantis “really just Donald Trump with a mask on” during a keynote speech to Florida Democrats last July.
DeSantis criticized Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigations, which were far stricter in Illinois than in Florida, as well as Pritzker sending his family to Florida in 2020 when the virus was worsening.
“When the world lost its mind, when common sense suddenly became an uncommon virtue, Florida stood as a refuge of sanity, as a citadel of freedom for people not just in our state, but in all of the United States, and even for people around the world, including your governor’s family who sent people down there because we were living in freedom,” DeSantis said.
Pritzker spoke out about DeSantis’ visit the night before, saying that “In Illinois, we reject the cruelty he espouses and stand firmly against his hateful agenda.”
DeSantis is expected to formally launch a presidential bid within the coming days.