CPAC 2021: Ron DeSantis Welcomes CPAC, and Declares FL "Open for Business!"

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

CPAC 2021: America UnCanceled opened its first session, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis giving opening remarks.

Governor DeSantis was greeted with rousing applause and a standing ovation as he welcomed the attendees. DeSantis said that he was glad they chose to do CPAC here so he could attend.

“I have a policy: I only travel to free states!” He said, to laughter and cheers.

DeSantis dived right in to the elephant in the nation:

“The oppressive yoke of lockdowns. While so many Governors locked people down, Florida lifted people up.”

DeSantis is coming from a place of victory, with low COVID numbers, low unemployment, and businesses that are open and thriving, rather than closed and floundering. Because of DeSantis’s economic and open state policies, the State of Florida is seeing a surplus.

DeSantis declared that the government has not touched,

“one red cent of our rainy day funds. Florida got it right, and the lockdown states got it wrong.”

This was met with more applause and cheers. DeSantis is the poster child of a successful model of governance, and the CPAC crowd obviously approved.

My colleague Kira Davis saw a launch of a presidential campaign in his speech. In fact, when we Ubered to a local restaurant, we asked our driver if he thought Ron DeSantis would be running for President. The driver was non-committal on that point, but he affirmed, “He’s doing a good job in this State.”

DeSantis rounded out his speech by drawing a line in the sand on the Republican Party’s future and direction.

“We will not go back to the policies of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,” he declared.

DeSantis also spoke about the Party’s rejection of open borders, that the Party would not show weakness in the face of China’s aggression, and that a strong defense is needed, without the taint of “military adventurism”.

DeSantis ended with a tribute to one of the “generals” of the conservative fight, the late Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh was laid to rest in his beloved Missouri, and because Limbaugh was also an honored Florida resident, DeSantis flew the flags at half-staff in his honor.

“Rush was one of the first to fight and win against Cancel Culture,” DeSantis proclaimed.

“One of the things Rush taught us is that standing for the right things comes at a cost. You will be attacked, you will be smeared, you may even be cancelled by those on the political Left.”

But DeSantis promised that Conservative values, the Will of the People, and the freedoms we hold dear are things that are worth fighting for and asked the crowd,

“Will you stay strong, or will you fold?”

DeSantis concluded with this encouragement:

“Hold the line. Stand your ground. and don’t ever, ever back down!”