Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Doesn't Mention Ukraine Once in CPAC Speech

During the first day of speeches at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis railed against the media and "authoritarian regimes," singling out Australia and Canada for their COVID restrictions, while not once mentioning the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

DeSantis spoke for about 20 minutes on Thursday afternoon, accusing the media of propping up the "regime" of President Joe Biden and criticizing the "woke" Left and the "authoritarian regimes" of Democrat-run states. The Florida governor and reported potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate walked to the podium tossing hats into the crowd before he began his speech by welcoming the crowd to the "freest state" in the U.S.

He criticized politicians and other critics of his state from across the country who still vacation in Florida, and said they repeatedly came during the pandemic because Florida refused to become a "Fauci-an dystopia." He said the state has "defeated Fauci-ism" and opted for "freedom" in the face of the pandemic. Florida is currently 18th in the U.S. in COVID deaths per capita, according to Statista.

DeSantis then moved his criticism to Biden, claiming the president "hates" Florida because they "stand up to him," citing his lawsuits against the government over Biden's vaccine mandates and border policies. He also criticized Biden's "reckless" economic policies that he claimed have caused "rampant Biden-flation," seemingly combining the words "Biden" and "inflation" to describe the state of the U.S. economy.

He also claimed that Biden has had the "worst first year of any president since the 1800s," without providing a specific metric like polling numbers or other data to substantiate the statement.

DeSantis then boasted about having one of the most conservative state supreme courts in the country and other changes he's made to the state since he became governor.

However, the biggest reaction from the crowd came when DeSantis said the state is working to get money from the state Legislature with the purpose of looking into whether Biden is "dumping illegal aliens" into Florida, and if any are found, DeSantis said he would be "rerouting them to Delaware," Biden's home state. Amid the applause, he added that he will also "send some" to Washington, D.C., and Hollywood.

He launched another attack against social media and the alleged "censorship" of conservative voices that have opinions that differ from the "oligarchs" who run social media companies.

Another brief standing ovation came when DeSantis said the state Legislature was working to ban "CRT" from K-12 school curricula, referring to the educational concept of critical race theory, which teaches about the history of race and discrimination in the U.S., highlighting systemic discrimination and bias in things like the legal system.

He continued to criticize COVID lockdowns in Canada and Australia and across the U.S. and said people have been "fleeing" those governments for places like Florida, citing migration numbers into the state in recent years.

The speech continued with criticisms of the media and academic community, including support of the Biden "regime" via a "blizzard of lies." He ended his speech by telling audience members they need to have the "courage" to "fight back."

"We need people all over the country to be willing to put on that full armor of God, to stand firm against the Left's schemes," DeSantis said near the end of his speech. "You'll be met with flaming arrows, but the shield of faith will stop them. You will emerge victorious."

Update 2/24/22 3:45 p.m. EST: This story has been updated with additional context and information, along with quotes from DeSantis' speech.

Ron DeSantis CPAC COVID Russia Ukraine
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday without once mentioning the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine while criticizing the media and COVID restrictions. Above, DeSantis speaks at CPAC on Thursday in Orlando, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images