May 9, 2023
Ron DeSantis Speaks at the American Aviation Flight Academy Transcript
His speech included mentions of recently signed laws, and why the governor decided to sign the three bills that were sent to his desk addressing Chinese influence in Florida. Read the transcript here.
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… calls Chou from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami. And I want to thank them for coming, and for their support for these particular pieces of legislation.
We have our agriculture commissioner, Wilton Simpson. We have our State University System of Florida Chancellor, Ray Rodriguez with us. Of course, our sheriff here. Where’s the sheriff? There he is, Nienhuis. And then, we have legislators. We have senators, Jay Collins, Danny Burgess, and I don’t know why they let him in, Blaise Ingoglia.
We’ve got representatives, Amesty, Borrero, Kennedy, Waldron and Temple, and Representative Jeff Holcomb. So they’re all here. So welcome and thank you.
I want to thank the members of the legislature. They finished the legislative session on Friday. And I said after November’s elections, when we were able to sweep in super majorities of the legislature, that we weren’t just going to be biding time, we weren’t just going to be patting ourselves on the back because we had a big election victory. So we were going to put those majorities to good use and we were going to deliver on all the things that we promised we would do. And I’m happy to report that everything we set out to achieve we have achieved in this legislative session. And that’s something that’s really, really good for the State of Florida and really a model for other states to follow and to just see that if you just stand for what’s right, if you’re very bold in what you’re seeking to accomplish, you get the people behind you, and you can accomplish an awful lot. So we’ve been able to do that.
I mean, if you look at just what we’ve already signed in the law with just the session ending Friday, huge, huge things that we’ve signed in the law. And then, even just last week, the things we did was enough to probably be what any normal legislative session would be happy to do if that was the total amount of achievements. I mean, we signed in the law a number of significant measures to make sure that Florida remains a law and order state. We have a 50-year low in the crime rate and we’re proud of that. We thank the people that wear the uniform, for helping make that a reality. And of course, we’ve supported our police from the time I became governor, in a really, really big way.
But we’re also looking at things, how can we make sure we continue on a law and order path. So we sign legislation authorizing the death penalty for pedophiles. That’s the right thing to do. We also sign legislation that is going to treat fentanyl dealers, particularly those who are targeting children, who are lacing candy with it. We have recognized they’re killing people. They’re killing children. We’re going to treat them like the murderers that they are. They’re going to prison for the rest of their life.
And then finally, just on last Monday, we signed legislation to say Florida is not going to be like New York and these states, and eliminate cash bail. Where these people commit crimes, they put them right back on the street and they commit more crimes. No, we’re going in the other direction, and we’re going to ensure not only from the state’s perspective that dangerous people are being held accountable, but we’re not allowing some crazy judge to just release people. And so, we’re going to have really good protections in law, which is good.
The thing about it is, even with Florida having the 50-year low crime rate, the people that do commit some of these bad crimes, they are people that have been cycled through. And it’s like if someone along the way had just thrown the book at them, then they would not have been committing these other crimes. And so, we want to make sure that we shore up as best we can there.
We also signed legislation last week recognizing… I mean, if you look at what’s going on, the cost of things. I mean, we’ve had the worst inflation we’ve had in 40 years and it’s still going. Now they’re raising interest rates again, that’s not helping people’s pocket books. But then you have things like medication and prescription drugs, so we were able to do a huge reform to these pharmacy benefit managers. They’re middlemen that end up driving up the cost of people’s drugs. They will even charge people higher copay sometimes than the actual drug itself costs in total. And that’s not fair to consumers. It’s also not good for our mom and pop pharmacies because they get squeezed as well. So that PBM and prescription drug transparency, that’s going to make a difference. And that was something that the legislature was able to get through. There was a lot of lobbying against that, because there’s people, got their fiefdoms and they make money off of it. And so, they were able to do the right thing. And I think that’s really, really significant.
And then, we also signed legislation kneecapping ESG in the State of Florida. If you look at what they’re trying to do with this environment social governance, at the end of the day, all it is a facade for them to impose a partisan agenda through the economy, through corporate America and these big businesses. And they’re able to try to enact policies that none of you ever voted for. They’re able to try to kneecap domestic energy production. They’re trying to go after Second Amendment, all these little hobbyhorses that they have, and they want to kind of impose that without winning elections or without going through the ballot box or the constitutional process. And so, we think the ESG agenda, the policies are bad and we’re pushing back against it. But we also think the entire concept of ESG, that you can simply ignore the electoral process and the constitutional process and change policy through corporate means, we think that that’s fundamentally wrong. No social or economic transformation without representation. You have a right to be voting on people that are making these changes.
And we have much more in the kitty over the next days and weeks, so stay tuned on that. And today is one example of Florida really leading the nation in terms of what we’re doing to stop the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
I mean, if you think of where we are with respect to the CCP, they have established a position of economic might, of industrial hegemony, and their military is far stronger today than it was 20 or 25 years ago. They have a leader who’s very ideological and is intent on expanding CCP influence, not just in their region, but even around the globe. Part of the reason we’re in this predicament is because elites in our own country, for a generation, have sought short-term profits over long-term U.S. interest. They thought people were making money, that was good for some, and they didn’t have a long view of how that would work in terms of America’s industrial base here at home or America’s security abroad. And so, what’s developed, I think is a relationship that really lacks symmetry and reciprocity. China does not do trade with us. China dumps products here, and it’s very difficult for our businesses to be able to access their market. That’s completely at the whim of the CCP. So you really have an unfair trading relationship. They do dump products, they take our copyrights and they take our patents. And yet, a lot of people have not done very much about it, who’ve been in positions of authority to do so. You see that, you see the imbalance and you also see their ambitions here in the United States.
They have had a concerted effort to acquire farmland throughout the United States. In fact, they were trying to acquire land in Florida, in Levy County. And that ended up not working out, thankfully, because there was some opposition. But nevertheless, you see what they’re doing. And I look at things like farmland, it’s important for community, it’s important for business and jobs and the economy, but our food security is also national security. And so, we don’t want the CCP in charge of any of the food production.
So when you see that, when you see what they’re doing in the western hemisphere to expand their influence, we really need to have a unified effort in this country to deter the CCP’s ambitions and their influence. And part of that is asserting our economic sovereignty.
One of the things that we saw throughout the years, but COVID was, I think, the most dramatic, almost anything that you needed for COVID… And look, some of the stuff people were scurrying for, in hindsight, you probably didn’t need it, but people didn’t know at the time, so they were doing it. I think almost 100% of it was produced in China. It was pretty close, if it’s not 100%. And there’s so many things that our economy is dependent on China for, and it’s given them more leverage and more power as a result. So we do need to assert our economic sovereignty.
Part of that is bringing supply chains home and getting more stuff here as we build up our military, which I know this president won’t do, but we need to do. You’re also expanding the industrial base here in America, which we need to do to counter China. So today, we’re really recognizing the threat and we’re taking action and really doing measures that no other state has done at this level. And I want to thank the legislature for recognizing that we needed to step up and make things happen.
So I’m going to be signing a series of bills today aimed at curbing the influence of the CCP both in our country and in the State of Florida. The legislation, SB 264, will prohibit the purchase of farmland in Florida by the CCP and other foreign countries of concern, because we believe protecting our food supply is a security issue, and we want to make sure that our agriculture land is not compromised by CCP influence.
Now, the prohibition in that bill is not just limited to farmland. It also includes land within 10 miles of any military installation or any type of critical infrastructure in our state. And that ensures our sea ports, it ensures our airports, power plants, telecom systems, and other critical infrastructure will not be compromised by the CCP or any foreign adversary. So that will make a big, big difference.
The second bill we’re signing is Senate Bill 846. It prohibits state universities, state colleges, their employees and representatives from soliciting or accepting gifts in their official capacities from the CCP or any foreign country of concern. It also prohibits…
Ron DeSantis (12:05):
It also prohibits state universities and colleges from accepting any grant from or participating in any agreement or partnership with any college or university based in a foreign country of concern. And part of that is because I think the CCP has done a really, really effective job at identifying some of the soft underbelly of American society and really focusing on academic infiltration and influence. And they’ve been able to expand their influence in academia tremendously, part of the reason because they’re throwing a lot of money around. And so in Florida we say, “Not here, not on our watch.” And I think that that bill is going to be something that’s going to be very, very significant. We’re also going to be signing SV258. And what that does is it recognizes how the CCP has used apps and devices like TikTok to access personal information and to compile data on Floridians and on the American people.
Now, we as a state of course, there’s different things. The state will have driver’s license info, all these other things. And there’s certainly, there’s cyber attack attempts all the time that you’re having to fight back. So you see, but what this is doing is it’s blocking access to dangerous applications like TikTok on all government and education institutions, servers, and devices. Now we did do, from the state perspective, an executive order last year that covered not just TikTok, actually covered a lot. We weren’t really using that in any of our state agencies, but we made sure that that was the case as well as other related or similar applications. This codifies that and statute, but also applies it to all levels of government. So it’s just not the estate government, it’s also local government and it also does the state universities. And so if you’re trying to get on the wifi or something with one of these CCP backed apps, it’s not going to let you go and do that.
And we think that that’s appropriate because we think whatever utility that these applications have is clearly outweighed by the benefit that the CCP gets from data mining and being able to collect information. So those are going to be three really, really significant pieces of legislation. It builds off what we’ve already done since I’ve been governor. We have fought back against theft in trafficking of trade secrets with China is the top of the heap in that. And we’ve had additional penalties added to be able to do that.
We also next Confucius Institutes in the state of Florida. And so these Confucius Institutes would be set up, we had one at Miami-Dade College and it’s put out as more goodwill, but in reality it’s a way to put CCP propaganda onto our college and university campuses. And we clearly do not want to be in a situation where we’re doing that. So today, Florida makes it very clear, we don’t want the CCP and the Sunshine State, we want to maintain this as the free state of Florida. And that’s exactly what these bills are doing. So I want to thank everybody that’s been involved with this, you’re going to hear from some folks here and then we’ll go make it official. So we’ll start with Commissioner of Agriculture, Wilton Simpson.
Wilton Simpson (15:37):
First of all, I just want to thank the governor for his work this year. Without the governor, we cannot have passed these bills in our great legislature. As Commissioner of Agriculture, I have been really focused on Florida’s future of agriculture, recognizing the work that we have to do if we’re going to secure agriculture the next 50, 100, 200 years. From rural and family lands where we buy our development rights from our farmers so that we can continue to have that land and prosperous agriculture, to eliminating special tax assessments for our agriculture lands. And think about that for a second. Some of our counties, tax agriculture like we’re a big box store and the governor’s going to sign a bill later this year that is going to take that away from them. The farm team card, every year your farmers, we try to put something in the budget for tax cuts towards your farmers.
This year it was interior fencing and gates and things of that nature. We’re going to have a card now that’ll go in their wallet that when they go to a store, you no longer have to fill out four or five sheets of paperwork to get the entitlement that you’re entitled to based on the state of Florida. So those are very important long-term strategic thinkings for agriculture community. When you think about this bill here today, the governor’s going to sign, and I really have to thank Senator Jay Collins and Representative Borrero for leading the charge on this. They did a great job not allowing our foreign enemies to buy our agriculture lands or around our strategic things.
When we think of national security and we think about oil, we know oil is a national security issue, we have strategic supplies. And when it comes to food though, we don’t always think of it as a national security issue. So I challenge everyone here to think today, what would happen if there was one week of no groceries in the grocery store? You’d have chaos. In two weeks you’d have total chaos. And so when we think about taxing food, when we think about regulating our farmers, when we think about putting burdens on the back of our farmers, that’s the view that we need to look at it through. And so I’m very proud to be in the state of Florida, the free state of Florida, and I’m very proud of Governor DeSantis and the work he’s doing. Thank you, governor.
Ron DeSantis (17:55):
Good morning. Thank you, governor. Florida’s known for two things I think right now. One, we’re home to America’s governor, Ron DeSantis, And two, we are the freest state in the nation. And there are a number of organizations that have metrics around that. And you don’t have to take my word for it, you can go look it up, but with freedom comes responsibility. And many nations, the higher education is controlled by the national government. So they take the action around national security and higher education, but in the United States, we have a decentralized model. Each state is responsible for their public state university system. And what we know is that there are those out there who will use the academic in the realm of academia to pursue their own ends.
And in academia is based on a foundation of collaboration and working together in the search for truth and knowledge, and that can be abused by those who seek to abuse it. The legislation that the governor will sign today, Senate Bill 864, will prevent this from occurring in our great state here in Florida.
The CCP and foreign countries of concern like North Korea and Cuba and Iran will not have access to our academic programs after this legislation is signed. And I want to thank Representative Kennedy, this was a passion project for her and Senator Avila for bringing this forward, working with stakeholders, and getting this great legislation passed. This is going to be a big deal for the state of Florida because we are going to lead the way for all 50 states in securing our academics and our academic community and preventing it from being exploited from those who would seek to do us harm. And I’ll just close with this, understand this, no one who opposes freedom is going to exploit the academic freedom that we have here in Florida for their own ends. That ends today. Thank you, governor.
Charles Chou (20:26):
Thank you Governor, and honorable senators and house of representative, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. My name is Charles Chou, Director General of Thai Bay Economic and Cultural Office. I want to share with you from Taiwan’s viewpoint, and I must say Florida and Taiwan enjoy a very close economic and trade time, and we both also have a very share sister state relationship since 1992. As the Taiwan continue to face throwing military pressure and threat from Chinese Communist Party, we highly appreciate the governor and the government of Florida’s unwavering and solid support to Taiwan.
Taiwan will continue to stand tall and defense our own homeland as we will continue to advocate our rights for legitimate and necessary participation in international community. For instance, Taiwan should not excluded from WHO, the World Health Organization because for this organization, when he established in 1948, the purpose is held for all, but Taiwan is not in it now.
I think Taiwan has a will and capacity to join the WHO and work together with all the members to keep our world healthier and safer from disease. We thank the governor and the government of Florida for sustaining the partnership with Taiwan and upholding universal values of democracy and liberty for all. My office also look forward to strengthening the cultural and educational exchanges with this vibrant and beautiful Sunshine State, just like governor just mentioned. Thank you all allowing me this opportunity to share some words in this occasion. I wish you all the good health, happiness, and success. Thank you, governor.
Ron DeSantis (22:44):
Thank you. Appreciate that. And just for the record, Taiwan wanted to get into WHO, that’s their decision. But just so you know, we’re going to be signing legislation here in Florida. What Biden is trying to do with the WHO to impose on our country, we are signing legislation saying none of that is applicable in Florida, It’s our choices, not their choices. All right, Jay Collins.
Jay Collins (23:18):
You have to excuse me, a little slow, a little hitch from the giddy of getting up here. I want to thank you all for being here today. I want to thank America’s governor here. Thank you for your leadership. Leadership itself often comes down to three things, courage, candor, and commitment. The courage to do what’s necessary, candor to speak the truth, and the commitment to see it through. And under your leadership, that’s what we are doing here in the state of Florida. As a 23 year retired Green Beret, I’ve deployed around the globe and I’ve seen firsthand the pain caused by countries like PRC, that what the CCP does to nations. This pure power of what tyranny does in these communities is gut-wrenching. We must not
Jay Collins (24:00):
Let’s not forget that these nations do not stand for freedom. They do not understand or care for the American way. And as Reagan once said, we have to remember that America is a moral force that defeated communism, and all those who have put the human soul itself in bondage, we must be vigilant. We have to take their words and their actions of nations like the CCP, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Syria seriously. Remember that in 2017, China embarked in a new era trying to take center stage. In 2019, it was a new long march. This is the same nation that is setting up police stations to patrol American citizens of Chinese origin. They’re accelerating military development and pushing for economic dominance via initiatives like the Belt and Road strategy.
And here in Florida with Senate Bill 264, Florida is once again leading the way. As the Governor mentioned, we are stopping the CCP from purchasing real property in the state of Florida. We are blocking countries of concern from purchasing farmland. We are blocking it from purchasing real estate, real property within 10 miles of critical infrastructure. Additionally, we’re stopping government agencies from entering into contracts with countries of concern and we’re protecting electronic health records. And I want to leave you with one last statement. My first lesson with the Green Beret, we have to leave things better than we got it. And under our governor’s leadership and many in this state, we are doing just that. Thank you. God bless you.
Speaker 2 (25:41):
Good morning everybody. How we doing? This is a great way to kick off a work week. What a beautiful day in the free state of Florida. Governor, thank you for being here in Hernando County. Appreciate you prioritizing this issue. And believe me when I say this is an incredibly timely topic, and this is one of the top national security concerns that we have here in America, and we’re addressing it today here in Florida. Once again, Florida is leading under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis. Our kids, they might think of TikTok as just a fun way to show or to share videos or to do the latest viral challenge, but unfortunately, that is absolutely not the case. It is a literal spyware app that has no place on government devices. ByteDance, TikTok’s parents company, is using the application to collect American’s personal and sensitive information and feeding it to the communist Chinese government.
Make no mistake, China is attempting to project power and is a very real near pure competitor. The CCPs goal is to break us from within. Whether that means Chinese spy balloons traversing the American continent, buying our lands, or stealing our information through cyber attacks or platforms like TikTok, we must be prepared and we must be smart. As an officer in the US Army Reserve, I understand the threat is real and in Florida we will be prepared. Thanks to the leadership of our great governor, we are once again leading the way in ensuring that Florida will be safe from these threats. As a former naval officer, and I believe the only sitting governor who is a combat veteran, Governor DeSantis understands this threat and I applaud him for prioritizing our safety and security from those who seek to harm us. Thank you, Governor. Forward march.
Speaker 3 (27:39):
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you, Governor, for your extraordinary leadership. We are gathered here today because once again, Florida is leading the nation. In an era where the Chinese Communist Party, and other foreign enemies are increasing their extensive surveillance to gain any possible advantage against the United States, it is crucial to prevent hostile forces from gaining control of social media platforms that could easily be used against us. This bill is an effective plan of action to safeguard our state against the deceitful digital spying and manipulative activities of authoritarian government such as the People’s Republic of China, the Venezuelan Regime of Nicolás Maduro, the Republic of Cuba, the Russian Federation, the Democratic Peoples of Korea, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. US intelligent experts at the highest level have warned that TikTok is a Trojan horse of the CCP. In Florida, we take this threat very seriously and this bipartisan measure will help safeguard the privacy of our residents against hostile foreign actors who are actively working to undermine our security.
Floridians shall feel confident that our state devices will now be safer from espionage and other foreign threats. Legislation was introduced, we passed a bill, and the governor is signing it today. That is responsive government for people and for a stronger America. I encourage parents, guardians, teachers, and employers to echo our sentiment that TikTok is dangerous and that is being used to undermine our country. Please tell our children about its dangerous. I want to take this opportunity to thank Senator Danny Burgess for working with me on this extraordinary piece of legislation. Senator Burgess has been an incredible partner and I am grateful for his dedication and service to our country. I also want to express my appreciation to Governor Ron DeSantis for his incredible leadership, for always caring for the security and the wellbeing of every Floridian.
Governor DeSantis has already served our country honorably in uniform, and he continues to defend the people of Florida and our great nation. I also want to thank my colleagues and the Florida legislature for supporting this bill. This legislation is a testament to our unwavering commitment to the privacy and the safety of our residents. Today we stand here united to send a clear message to the world. There is no place for the Chinese Communist Party in the free state of Florida. Thank you and God bless you.
Speaker 1 (30:28):
Good morning. My name is David Herrero. I represent West Miami-Dade County. It’s great to be in Hernando County. A little bit different. It’s beautiful green grass. First of all, I want to thank you Governor DeSantis. I’ll also thank Senate President Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner for pushing forward this very, very critical legislation. I think this legislation is going to prove to be among the most important over the next decades for the state of Florida. I’d also like to thank my representative, my colleague across the other side of the aisle. Representative Waldron who pushed very hard, is my private co-sponsor for the house sponsor of Senate Bill 264. With this law today, Florida provides a blueprint for our national security. See, there is no more important security than national security. And what this bill does today is it tells Floridians that your governor and your legislature want to make sure that Florida is not for sale to totalitarian regimes. See, last year… We’re just getting started. Last year, Florida passed historic legislation, Victims of Communism Day, which requires Florida high school students to learn about the horrors of communism over the last 100 years, every time it’s failed and every time people have suffered. This legislation continues to show why the free state of Florida will continue to build back against the totalitarian regimes around the world. Now by explicitly banning foreign countries of concern such as the Communist Party of Cuba, because it’s not just China, the Venezuelan Regime of Nicolás Maduro, North Korea from Iran. We are saying that we are not going to allow them to hold hostage our critical food supply here in Florida. This bill also prevents the Communist party of China from purchasing any land here in Florida. And we know China has one goal in mind, and that is to rise to the apex of global dominance and really to displace the United States position of leadership around the world. But we’re not going to let that happen, are we?
Now many have asked, “Why does Florida need this?” Well, unfortunately, the federal government has not stepped up. But Florida today rises to the occasion. States may be tempted to rely on the federal government to prevent the growing threat of the CCP, however, the efforts of the federal government so far to prevent this threat and Chinese influence in the United States has been futile. The reality is, is that for decades, the Chinese Communist Party has been purchasing hundreds of thousands of acres in the United States, and they have lobbied not only the federal government, but the state governments and local governments actively for contracts and to influence public policy here. But we’re taking a stand against that today. This bill, it says that foreign adversaries will not have a backdoor to Florida’s critical infrastructure. This bill prevents… I know it sounds crazy, but it prevents Florida from not being tenants to the Chinese Communist Party. And this bill prevents our food supply from ever being held hostage by foreign countries of concern. Thank you Governor DeSantis for prioritizing all of this critical legislation in Florida.
Ron DeSantis (33:53):
Thank Speaker Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. Not just for this series of bills, but for being able to produce more significant policy victories than has ever been produced in one six-month period in the history of our state. I would put this up against any other state out there. Show me. We’ve had some states do well and we’re proud of that when we see it, but I think it was really, really productive. And not only was the productivity great, but they were able to do this in a very efficient way. And it was probably the most seamless legislative session we’ve had in recent memory. And so that’s not easy to do, but I think it’s a testament to their leadership. So why don’t we go ahead and make it official. So you guys want to come crowd around here.
Speaker 4 (37:20):
Ron DeSantis (37:21):
Okay. Got any questions back there?
Speaker 5 (37:24):
I have two questions. First, as you mentioned that this is a huge threat to our economy strategy and security. What’s your message to the average Floridian might not be able to wrap their head around how serious of a threat this is?
Ron DeSantis (37:37):
What I’d say to the average Floridian is your state government takes the security of this state very seriously and there’s a lot that the federal government needs to do, of course. And that goes for our border, which is a total disaster and it’s got to get worse this week. And it goes to having a strong military. It goes to protecting Americans from Chinese influence in the economy and make sure we have more economic self-sufficiency. And there’s a lot that’s been derelict over the years with that. And I think what we can tell Floridians is we’re getting ahead of things. As you start to see what the CCP is doing with the farmland, we reacted very quickly, also with all the other critical infrastructure.
And so this is the strongest in the country. I think people instinctively realize when you have a junta, a ruling junta dedicated to communist ideology like the CCP, that’s not someone you want in your backyard, and that’s not somebody that is going to be productive operating in the state of Florida, and so today we say no and that’s not going to happen here. And I hope all states follow suit and follow Florida’s lead.
Speaker 5 (38:51):
And the second question was, you mentioned a lot of national threats and things that President Biden is doing that you would do differently. Do you have any timeline for a possible potential run?
Ron DeSantis (38:56):
Well, what I would just say is this. I think if you look at some of the problems in our country, I think things have gotten very bad very quickly over just a short period of time, and I think a lot of it is due to a lack of leadership. I think it’s due to adherence to left, woke ideology, which will destroy this country if it’s allowed to take hold everywhere. That’s why we say Florida’s where woke goes to die because we fight back against it.
And so I think part of when you look at foreign threats and you look at a country like China and their ambitions, one, you got to recognize the folly of prior American policies for the last generation. Remember, they told us if you put China in the World Trade Organization and grant them most-favored-trade status, that they would end up becoming capitalist democracy. That’s what these elites were saying what happened. In reality, China got much richer. They created a massive industrial base and they’ve used that to fuel more military and really to fortify Xi Jinping’s ambitions. So that’s just the reality of what happened. The elites in this country let us down.
It’s also the case when you start talking about somebody like China and really any threat that you can think of, a strong America abroad requires a strong America at home. And I think the elites in this country have ignored problems at home for far too long. You just look at the southern border, people are dying because of the fentanyl that is pouring in across that border. What kind of a nation just allows tens of thousands of people to die at the hands of fentanyl that the cartels are bringing over? What kind of a country allows Mexican drug cartels to rule our own border of our own country? So you see failure after failure and there’s a lot of threats to this country. But I’ll tell you, if we can’t get our house in order here at home, we’ve got no chance to deal with any of these other issues abroad.
Speaker 6 (41:17):
Did you get any trade deals overseas for Hernando County?
Ron DeSantis (41:19):
Speaker 6 (41:19):
Did you get any trade deals overseas for Hernando County?
Ron DeSantis (41:20):
Huh. So actually, so we actually, not here. There’s one and I think Jennifer, we actually got a pretty neat MOU for Polk County for some of the stuff that we’re doing. But I think what’ll end up happening is when you do the these, so we did trade mission to Israel 2019. We kind of stopped doing them once Covid hit because I just told people, I’m like, “I am not testing, I am not doing vax passports. If you’re not free, I’m not going there.” And there was a lot of restrictions. And so we just said forget it. But now that we came, and so, but the Israel one, we did a bunch of MOUs, and we did do MOUs on this trip with it’s really the state as a whole for most of them. But what’s happened is when you go and you tell Florida’s story, people get excited about the opportunities. And so we still see dividends from that trip in 2019.
So I think what’ll happen is we’ll point, there’s going to be a Japanese Florida space relationship that’s developing. We’ll probably have an agreement there. We have the South Korea with the clean hydrogen, more deals with Israel, and it’s great. But I think even more than that is the follow on, the relationships. And at the end of the day, people see the United States, the center of gravity is shifting in this country dramatically away from blue states and to free states. And that’s happened in Florida with wealth that’s come in, with people that want to invest in Florida. Not everyone in other countries fully appreciates that. Obviously you’re not going to have national corporate media outlets want to say nice things about Florida. That just doesn’t happen. And so to be able to talk about the data, the facts and the opportunities, people really get interested. So I think you’re going to end up seeing more and more things happen as a result, and I think that’ll be good for the state.
Speaker 7 (43:20):
So would you say that Nixon’s trip China was a mistake?
Ron DeSantis (43:21):
Well, I think that’s a little bit different. That was not necessarily… Having diplomatic relationship I think is much different than saying we’re going to put them in the World Trade Organization and grant them MFN, which was in the late nineties, beginning of 2000, because what’s ended up happening is you have unfair trade. It’s not free trade with China. And they’ve really manipulated that to create this big industrial capacity. Some of ours has been hollowed out as a result and it’s created a situation where so much is now dependent on our economy in China. You can go to any business just about that makes things and the chance that at least something comes from China is pretty high. And so that’s just where we find ourselves.
So I think it was a lack of vision into thinking what were the implications of that? And I think the thought was by empowering China, would you end up making China more like in the community of nations and be more even democratic? And that was the bet. And we just have to understand that that bet was not correct. And it’s created a situation where we now have some significant stuff to deal with.
All right, guys. Thank you. We’ll see you soon.