During a press conference that Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis had on Thursday in Key Biscayne, he not only addressed state issues but also commented on the results of the midterm elections and the overall state of the Republican Party throughout the nation. DeSantis noted that Republicans need to be producing positive results if they want to get votes.
The press conference was held at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park as DeSantis announced an environmental protection investment for the Bay of Biscayne, WTVJ reported.
But as the governor took questions from reporters and spoke about other state-related issues, he was also asked about his thoughts on national politics, particularly regarding the Republican Party.
“You certainly have your pulse on national politics and given the rumors that are swirling, I’m curious, what is your take on Mr. Trump being back in the news every day? … You enjoy a healthy Republican Party in Florida, but nationally, the Republican Party is divided. So can you elaborate for us on those two specific items? National Republican politics and your take on Mr. Trump being on the news every day… he is your resident, by the way,” a reporter asked.
DeSantis quickly passed over the question of former President Donald Trump, simply noting that even though Trump is indeed a Florida resident, “I’ve also got 22 million others and I got to look out for everybody.”
But moving on to the bigger question about the Republican Party, DeSantis reflected on the midterm elections.
He noted that in Florida the Republicans knew they were going to fare well in the midterms. But once the elections got underway, there was also a quick recognition that the rest of the country was a different story.
The governor said that after his own race had been called and he made his victory speech, some notified him that nationally, “This is not a red wave.”
“Florida is a big win. But the rest of the country we are not seeing really good performance from a lot of these Republicans,” DeSantis said he was told when he expressed disbelief that his staff wasn’t calling the 2022 midterms a “red wave.”
DeSantis noted that many Republicans had assumed the party was going to flip Congress and get about 245 Republican House members.
“We’re at 222, it looks like, which is a huge underperformance,” DeSantis noted.
“The question is, ‘Why did that happen?’ Because the way these midterms work, someone gets elected to the White House, and then there’s a reaction the other way. That’s what happens almost every two years. And especially when people are pessimistic about the direction of the country, have a negative view on Biden, usually, those voters are going to want to vote for people that are offering an alternative,” DeSantis said.
“And yet some of those voters, throughout the country, not in Florida … even though they disapproved of Biden, even though they disapproved of the direction of the country, they still didn’t want to vote some of our candidates,” DeSantis explained.
The Florida governor noted that it was important to look at Florida in light of the disappointing midterms for Republicans since Florida was able to carry out a “red wave.”
“So I don’t think it’s a question, necessarily, of being divided as a party, I think it’s like, ‘Ok, how do you run and win majorities?’ And I think what we’ve done in Florida is we’ve shown that we’ve exercised leadership, we’ve not kowtowed, we’ve been willing to take on big interests,” DeSantis noted.
“But producing results and then that ends up attracting more people to want to be on your team. And so that was not something that was happening throughout the rest of the country. But I think that we really showed, I think, how it’s done in the state of Florida and if you look about how we performed … No governor, Republican, has ever gotten a higher percentage of the vote in Florida history than we got in 2022,” DeSantis added.
But looking to the future of the Republican Party, DeSantis did not make any comments during the press conference about the possibility of him running a presidential campaign in 2024.
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