By Bill Pan
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday indicated that he still has unfinished business in the coming months before he could officially enter the 2024 presidential race.
The “two big things” he has at hand are a book tour promoting his upcoming memoir, “The Courage to be Free,” and the 2023 legislative session spanning from early March to early May, the Republican governor said on “Fox & Friends.”
The book talks about “Florida’s blueprint for American revival,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to go on a tour on that. We’re going to sell some books. We’re going to spread the message of Florida.”
Once the legislative session kicks off on March 8, Floridians will be seeing a Republican “supermajority” working to advance his agenda, DeSantis added. The 60-day session will conclude on May 5.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet. This is going to be the most productive legislative session we have had across the board, and I think people are going to be really excited,” the governor told the hosts. “So those are what we’re going to be doing over these next few months as we get beyond that, then we can decide from there.”
Two Republicans—former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley—have so far announced their 2024 White House bid.
At another point in the interview, DeSantis dismissed the recent criticism from Republicans Haley and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, while not directly responding to them.
Haley’s criticism targets an education law that bans public school teachers in Florida from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms, which has been misleadingly described by corporate media as the “‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”
“There was all this talk about the Florida bill—the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Basically what it said was you shouldn’t be able to talk about gender before third grade,” Haley said on a Feb. 17 town hall event in New Hampshire. “I’m sorry. I don’t think that goes far enough.”
“When I was in school you didn’t have sex-ed until 7th grade. And even then, your parents had to sign whether you could take the class,” she continued. “That’s a decision for parents to make.”
Meanwhile, Hogan also took issue with the way DeSantis handles Florida’s education, which he describes as a “big government” and “authoritarian” approach.
“I’m a small government, common sense conservative, and to me, it sounds like big government and authoritarian,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
During his Fox & Friends interview, DeSantis said there will be criticism as long as he is not sitting in his office idle.
“If you’re an officeholder and you’re just sitting there twiddling your thumbs and not getting anything done, no one ever says anything. You kind of just fly under the radar,” he said. “But when you’re out there leading, when you’re out there setting the agenda—not just for Florida, but really for the nation which we’ve done over the last few years—people see that and the people that don’t necessarily like that are going to respond accordingly.
“But I can just tell you, if people are not firing at me, then I must not be doing my job. And so I view it really as positive feedback.”