Ron DeSantis is on a campaign-like book tour designed to play up his record in Florida while trying to dodge attacks from Donald Trump.
DeSantis did not mention the former president during a high-profile speech Sunday, focusing instead on his own governing philosophy in Florida and how it might apply to “the federal establishment” in Washington, D.C.
“The lesson is, swing for the fences – you will be rewarded,” DeSantis told a supportive crowd gathered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
DeSantis is planning to echo this message across the country in the coming weeks, though a final announcement on a 2024 presidential candidacy is still a few months away.
states like Iowa and New Hampshire..
DeSantis is promoting “The Courage To Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint For America’s Revival,” the kind of book aspiring presidential candidates have published before their campaigns.
In the book, the potential presidential candidate discusses his years in Congress and the Florida governor’s mansion. And he avoids attacks on Trump, the one-term president who is seeking the office again in 2024, instead, DeSantis writes in praise of many of the Trump administration’s initiatives.
DeSantis did not mention the front-running Trump in his Reagan library. Instead, he touted a gubernatorial record that includes repeated attacks on so-called “woke-ism,” a campaign targeting diversity and inclusion programs in schools, businesses, and government.
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DeSantis opponents call him as divisive a candidate as Trump, and say he is using the term “woke” to justify policies that marginalize Black, gay, and transgender Americans.
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So far, DeSantis is not taking the bait.
In a recent book promotion interview on Fox News, DeSantis noted that Trump used to praise his performance as governor, but that was before he started scoring well in presidential polls.
“I don’t really pay attention to a lot of the background noise,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis has indicated he will make his decision on a 2024 presidential campaign after the current Florida legislative ends. Adjournment is scheduled for May.
Gov. Chris Sununu, R-N.H., who is thinking about running for president himself, told NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that many Republicans are looking for an alternative to Trump, and many of them are looking at DeSantis.
“Right now,” he said, “if the election were today, Ron DeSantis would win in New Hampshire, there’s no doubt about that in my mind.”
In the meantime, DeSantis said he will keep swinging, though he confined his criticisms to “the left” and not Trump.
“It’s not easy to fight the fights,” DeSantis said.