DeSantis Talks Corporate Overreach at Statesman Dinner

Todays News

Photo by Jacob Ogles: Ron DeSantis accepts the county GOP Statesman of the Yer award.

Gov. Ron DeSantis decried “woke corporations” and promised to fight government vaccine mandates as he accepted the Statesman of the Year award from the Republican Party of Sarasota County.

The Governor decried businesses that last year responded to outcry from progressives over a litany of issues like election reform. He pointed to response to a new law in Georgia intended to strengthen election integrity, but included controversial aspects like voter ID requirements and outlawing handing water to voters waiting in line to vote. “Businesses were going crazy,” he said. “The left went crazy. There was a big online mob and these businesses got scared and they started denouncing the law.”

But he said it was bad business to respond to the law there with moves like Major League Baseball taking the All-Star game out of Atlanta. When Florida passed what DeSantis considered  stricter election integrity bill he said corporations complained far less. “All you're doing is whipping up opposition and Dems going crazy about this,” he said. “I just let it be known to these businesses, I said look, it’s a free country. You’re the big CEO of a big, multinational corporation and you want to come into Florida and call me. I tell my staff, is it a woke corporation? And if it is, I don’t return their call.”

No businesses caught as much of the governor’s ire as social media companies, who he said are restricting free speech in the country. He said many in the public still see censorship as significant only when done by government, but said big tech today acts on the behalf of a regime, noting censorship of COVID-19 information that counters that published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “You cannot have a free society if the bounds of speech that’s acceptable is determined by a handful of oligarchs in Silicon Valley,” he said.

DeSantis also said Florida would resist mandates on businesses from the federal government for employers to impose vaccine mandates. President Biden issued executive orders affecting health care companies accepting Medicaid and companies with 100 employees or more to require employees to be vaccines or to receive regular testing for COVID-19. The result, DeSantis said, is many essential and frontline workers dubbed heroes a year ago will be forced out of work.

The county GOP has awarded the Statesman of the Year award in the past to national figures including former President Donald Trump and high-profile Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. The award has also gone to state leaders like Sen. Rick Scott, who was Governor when he accepted the honor. The dinner recognizing the award winner typically sells out and tickets to the event at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota ran out weeks ago. Two private VIP receptions were also well attended.

Photo by Jacob Ogles: Ron DeSantis accepts the county GOP Statesman of the Yer award.

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