Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign with fiery remarks at a megachurch outside of Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday
Share and Follow

Ron DeSantis came out guns blazing against President Joe Biden, Democratic policies and took veiled swipes at Donald Trump in his first campaign remarks since announcing his bid last week as he and wife Casey DeSantis dazzled in Iowa.

The Florida governor railed against the overrun border, spiking crime in Democratic cities, drug-out COVID-19 lockdowns, Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and lamented the president’s son Hunter would already be in jail if he were a Republican.

He vowed to send Biden ‘back to his basement,’ a call-back to the 2020 presidential election when the president conducted the majority of his campaign from a basement make-shift television studio.

‘We cannot permit the inmates to run the asylum,’ he said in reference to current Democratic leadership and the state of the country. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign with fiery remarks at a megachurch outside of Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign with fiery remarks at a megachurch outside of Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday

The governor and his wife and Florida first lady Casey DeSantis dazzled, both taking a more casual approach than usual and wearing matching powered blue outfits

The governor and his wife and Florida first lady Casey DeSantis dazzled, both taking a more casual approach than usual and wearing matching powered blue outfits

DeSantis also took swipes at his fellow Republicans, calling House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling deal with President Biden a way to ‘careen’ the country towards bankruptcy.

He distinguished himself from top competitor and former President Trump by claiming he isn’t running for president to get famous. 

‘At the end of the day, leadership is not about entertainment,’ DeSantis said to massive cheers. ‘It’s not about building a brand. It’s not about virtue signaling. It’s about results.’

Casey went to bat for her husband, receiving a warm welcome as she explained her voice was ‘horse’ because she was ‘negotiating’ with her children that they could not color with a permanent marker on the dining room table.

The Florida first lady, often compared to iconic First Ladies Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Nancy Reagan, donned a powered blue dress, matching the button down of her husband.

An enthusiastic crowd gathered at Eternity Church outside of Des Moines, Iowa Tuesday evening to hear from the newly announced candidate – many seeing him speak for the first time.

Buttering up the crowd, DeSantis said that the recent line calling Iowa the Florida of the North is actually the opposite – and that Florida is the Iowa of the Southeast.

There were mainly two types of attendees Tuesday evening – those dead-set on getting DeSantis nominated on the 2024 Republican Ticket and others testing the waters to see if they are ready to abandon voting for a third election in a row for Donald Trump.

The distinction could usually be discerned by those holding pro-DeSantis signs and decked-out in swag with the governor’s name on it versus those in plain clothes. 

Mitch, 46, brought his son to the event and said that he is on a fact-finding mission and is attending both the DeSantis remarks and another event Thursday in Iowa with former President Trump. 

Roxanne, 68, said she voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, but said his ‘personality’ has turned her off and made her curious to see what other candidates have to offer.

While she doesn’t have any ‘expectations,’ Roxanne told DailyMail.com that she came to DeSantis’ first campaign since announcing his candidacy ‘just to find out, listen to him speak, just kind of get a feel for who he is.’ 

‘I would like him to be a unifier,’ she added when asked what she would want from a presidential candidate. ‘I mean not only for the whole country, but the Republican, you know, first – we have so much dissension within the party.’

The Florida Governor’s Iowa swing starts at a Megachurch and ends Wednesday evening at a racetrack in Cedar Rapids.

Introduced by Gov. Kim Reynolds, DeSantis lauded his Iowan counterpart – claiming in a Fox & Friends interview earlier this week that her policies are making Iowa the Florida of the Midwest.

DeSantis’ decision to kick-off his campaign at a church is a nod to the importance of the Evangelical base of voters in the Republican Party.

Church-goers are particularly important in some deep red states like Iowa that will help decide which candidate clinches the nomination for president.

DeSantis officially announced his candidacy for president last week, and is starting off his Great America Comeback Tour Tuesday with a 12-city swing through early primary contest states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Volunteers set up pro-DeSantis signs ahead of his arrival in Florida

Volunteers set up pro-DeSantis signs ahead of his arrival in Florida

Voters around Des Moines this week told DailyMail.com they want to see what DeSantis ‘is all about’ as he quickly emerged as the most formidable primary competitor against former President Trump.

But most Republicans in the early primary contest state have yet to make a final decision on whether they will vote for DeSantis or Trump in 2024.

Whit, a Des Moines-based ride share driver, told DailyMail.com Monday evening that he thinks if DeSantis clinches the nomination, he could go on to beat President Biden – he isn’t sure if Trump could do the same.

Julie, a 42-year-old mother-of-two stopping for coffee before work Tuesday morning, said she wants to ‘hear what he’s all about’ before deciding whether she will cast her ballot for Trump or DeSantis in the Republican primary.

Several diner-goers shared with DailyMail.com their skepticism of choosing between Trump and DeSantis this early in the game, with one saying: ‘I voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, could switch to someone else if I like what he’s saying.’

It was hard to get anyone to commit to saying whether they would absolutely vote for DeSantis in the primary race, with most saying they don’t know enough about the Florida governor to make up their minds yet.

But there are still a few die-hard Trumpers in Des Moines who say they won’t abandon the former president in his third bid for the White House.

‘I like DeSantis, but I think he should have waited until 2028,’ Jack, a retired resident of Des Moines, told DailyMail.com.

After the Des Moines kick-off at Eternity Church on Tuesday evening, the governor and Florida’s first lady Casey DeSantis will head to four more Iowa cities concluding Wednesday at a racetrack in Cedar Rapids.

Then the couple will head to New Hampshire for a four-city tour of the small Northeast state, followed by another three-city single-day trip to South Carolina on Friday.

DeSantis then plans to go right back to the start of the trip in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday for GOP Senator Joni Ernst’s Roast & Ride fundraiser.

‘As military veterans, Joni and I both understand the importance of supporting those who have served our nation — and I’m excited to get the chance to do just that at the annual Roast & Ride,’ DeSantis said in a statement on the additional stop.

‘Over the past few months, Casey and I have had the pleasure of getting to know hard-working patriots across the great state of Iowa,’ he added. ‘Florida and Iowa have led the way in the fight for our way of life — and I’m running for president to take that fight to the White House. Our mission is simple: We are building a movement to restore America.’

DeSantis clearly understands the importance of winning over Republican primary voters in Iowa if he wants to beat Trump in 2024.

‘We are competing everywhere. Iowa is very important,’ the governor told Fox & Friends on Monday. ‘We’ve gotten an incredible amount of support. I got endorsed by 37 legislators there before I even announced my candidacy.’

‘We obviously have a lot in common with Iowa in terms of what Florida has done and what they’ve done under Governor Kim Reynolds,’ he added. ‘And I think the groundswell of support has been really, really strong. We’re going to press the case.’

Share and Follow
You May Also Like
Few Americans say conservatives can speak freely on college campuses, an AP-NORC/UChicago poll shows

Few Americans say conservatives can speak freely on college campuses, an AP-NORC/UChicago poll shows

WASHINGTON – Americans view college campuses as far friendlier to liberals than…
Sanctuary of Sin: How a religious order became a haven for pedophile priests

Sanctuary of Sin: How a religious order became a haven for pedophile priests

(WGN-TV) — John Bellocchio tells a gut-wrenching story. Growing up in New…
Documentary chronicling Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour heading to AMC theaters in North America Dec. 1

Documentary chronicling Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour heading to AMC theaters in North America Dec. 1

ByJake Coyle Monday, October 2, 2023 2:20PM A documentary chronicling Beyoncé’s just-concluded…
Few Americans say conservatives can speak freely on college campuses, AP-NORC/UChicago poll shows

Few Americans say conservatives can speak freely on college campuses, AP-NORC/UChicago poll shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans view college campuses as far friendlier to liberals…
Chiefs star Kelce arrives at NJ hotel in Taylor Swift's Range Rover

Chiefs star Kelce arrives at NJ hotel in Taylor Swift’s Range Rover

Travis Kelce has been spotted arriving back at his New Jersey hotel…
Exclusive video captures smoke shop raid in Philadelphia's Overbook neighborhood.

Exclusive video captures smoke shop raid in Philadelphia’s Overbook neighborhood.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Authorities across the region are cracking down on illegal…
The home and auto insurance crisis and how to keep your coverage

The home and auto insurance crisis and how to keep your coverage

(NerdWallet) – “Sheer panic.” That’s what Teddy Mars of Louisiana felt when…
Horrific moment store clerk in crime-ridden Bay Area is set on FIRE

Horrific moment store clerk in crime-ridden Bay Area is set on FIRE

Horrific surveillance footage has revealed the moment a Bay Area store clerk…