Listen To The Full Interview Below: (1:20.00-In)
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL), the 46th governor of Florida joined the Guy Benson Show for a wide-ranging interview where DeSantis explained why the state of Florida is leading the country and the free world.
Governor DeSantis on why he thinks reopening schools after covid has been the most consequential decision he has made as governor so far saying,
“I think ultimately it will be. Because when I did this was like June of 2020, and the data was very clear……. So we were able to really stand for the people who didn’t have much of a voice. And I think we — I mean, there’s a lot of decisions we’ve been vindicated on but that one I was opposed — this teacher’s union sued me, we beat them. All the Democrats were opposed, the media was opposed. No one will admit that they opposed me, to this day they will all act like they supported having the schools opened. So that tells you when you’re right.”
Governor DeSantis blasted California Governor Gavin Newsom saying,
“Well, first I would say how many people are moving from his state, fleeing to come to mine for freedom versus vice-versa? And I guarantee you we win in the net — in-migration people are leaving California in numbers we’ve never seen because of his failed policies.”
Governor DeSantis criticized President Biden’s gaffe-prone speeches saying,
“Well look, I mean, I think if you look at what we’ve done to fight back against Brandon so far, you know, we succeed. I mean the contrast between a daughtering (ph) quasi senile president who has to have his press team clean up his remarks after every time he opens his mouth versus somebody like me who’s out there — I’m very direct, I say what I mean, I mean what I say, I lead and I get things done. You know, they understand that people view Florida as really being the leader of our country in many respects, we’re really leading the free world in many — I mean, I have people from Canada that will come here that will write in to me, Australia, Europe — and they say, we look to Florida as the new citadel of freedom. They’re not looking to Joe Biden for that because they know that he’s just not capable of producing the type of leadership that they do.”
FULL Transcipt Below:
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS RADIO HOST: We are here at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee, Florida. I am delighted to welcome to the show Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican here in The Sunshine State. And some big breaking news today, your administration is suing the Biden administration over these continued mask rules, on airplanes for example. Talk about the thought process behind this and Florida’s standing in this lawsuit.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Sure. Well, first, welcome to the Governor’s Mansion, good to —
BENSON: Thank you.
DESANTIS: — have you here. So you know, this is a matter of principle. They extended it into April for no good reason. You have Fauci out there saying restrictions could be reimposed. And so, some people say, well, he may just let it go out in April. But I think they could definitely bring it back. So the issue is, is this an overstep of government authority or not? And so our attorney general’s done a great job, you know, she filed the lawsuit today. And so, we’re standing behind that. I’m surprised that courts upheld — haven’t struck it down by now. But clearly, at this point, I don’t even think it has a rational basis given where we are as a society. So I think we’ve been leading on pushing back against Biden’s overreach on all fronts — you know, not just this, the vax mandates, the border, all those things. And I think that’s what people want to see. Because I think Biden is really out of control, he’s clearly not in command of the White House. And he’s expanding government in ways that I think will be dangerous.
BENSON: So you won the Governor’s Mansion in 2018, it was a blue wave year. You squeaked through at 0.4 percent, that victory margin. And at the time, registered Democrats in this state outnumbered Republicans by hundreds of thousands.
DESANTIS: Almost 300,000.
BENSON: That has changed dramatically, and there was news today on that front. This is like a sea change, one might call it, in Florida. Tell us about this.
DESANTIS: Sure. So we were down almost 300,000 in 2018 when I got elected. Today we can announce that Florida Republicans now outnumber Democrats by over 100,000 registrants. So you’re looking at close to a 400,000-registration swing. And the thing is, is I thought we could catch them by my election at the end of this year, in November. We caught them in November of 2021. And so then I’m like, man, maybe we’ll be 50,000 to 100,000 up by the election. We’re already at 100,000. So that this pace, we could be 200,000 to 250,000 registrants ahead. And I think here’s why it matters for elections in Florida, mid-term elections for sure but even presidential. Registered Republicans turn out at higher rates than registered Democrats. And then a Republican like me, I’m going to get a higher percentage of registered Republicans than the Democrat will get of registered Democrats. You know we still have legacy Democrats who are — who are pretty conservative. And so, functionally it used to be Democrats outnumbered us, we had a turnout advantage, and then you’d kind of fight in the middle. That was why Florida was really a swing state. Well, now, we have a — we’re building a big registration advantage and the turnout advantage. And then I think this —
BENSON: You’re leading among independents as well.
DESANTIS: Exactly, this is going to be a red year. So I think, obviously, I will — I think I’ll win independents big because of the job I did as (ph) governor. But I think all Republicans are going to win independents because I think they’re rebelling against Brandon. And I think that they’re going to want to basically show their frustration and vote for Republicans.
BENSON: What counts as a blowout in this state? Six points?
DESANTIS: Oh, who knows, I mean — you know, look, I think it’s — Florida’s a tough state. It’s always a tough state to kind of get your — because there’s many moving parts. And we’ve always been a transient state. But I think now, being able to capture such a rapid change — and it is an ideological migration that is skewing very heavily to Republicans. Like, we don’t really know. So we don’t really know what the electorates going to look like. I — my guess would be whatever, kind of, the public polling is going into the election, you can add a couple points to the Republicans’ total, mine and I think other Republicans. Because I think it’s going to be hard for them to capture what all these new registrants mean in terms of the turnout and all of the things that go into modeling an electorate.
BENSON: Because sometimes you hear Republicans and conservatives worried about people leaving Illinois, and California, New York and New Jersey, moving to other places and then voting the same way. And turning places like Arizona purple, Colorado blue. Sounds like the opposite effect is happening here. This is getting redder in Florida.
DESANTIS: I think so, and I think part of it is we’ve always had lower taxes. So we’ve always had migration from that. The Northeasterners would come, you know, a lot of Democrats, a lot of Republicans. The Midwesterners are generally pretty conservative. But then with COVID, you had people that were fleeing COVID lockdowns. They had had enough on that. And then you had the Floyd riots and the defund the police. And a lot of families were like, look, I need to live in a state that’s a law-and-order state. So the number of people I run into from, like, Washington state or Minnesota who say one of the breaking points for them was the fact that crime was going through the roof. And here I am, I was like one of the only governors backing law enforcement, even in the summer of 2020. So I think there’s a number of factors. And then, quite frankly, the media has helped us with this because the corporate press will always try to paint Florida as, like, the worst place ever. The only people that works with are the — are the leftists who actually believe the corporate narratives. Nobody else in America believes it anymore, especially conservatives. So a conservative in Wisconsin is going to say, oh, well, hell, CNN’s attacking the governor of Florida. He must be doing a good job. And then, they are more interested in visiting and ultimately moving here.
BENSON: It’s like in-kind contributions —
DESANTIS: It’s absolutely —
BENSON: — from the mainstream media every day with you. Now you mentioned Fauci a few minutes ago. And one of the mottos or catchphrases that you have here that conservatives like, “Don’t Fauci My Florida.” A lot of those same Conservatives think please do Florida my America. Is this state — is your leadership in this state a model, do you think, for other Republicans around the country at the state level and maybe nationally?
DESANTIS: Well, I certainly think we’ve been willing to lead with purpose and conviction without worrying about whether it was safe to lead or not. Like, I have not conducted a single poll since I’ve been governor. I just do what I think is right —
BENSON: Focus groups?
DESANTIS: Never, not once. Now, I’m going to have to start polling the horse race when I get into the election but —
BENSON: But like, on governing decisions you’re not polling? You’ve not —
DESANTIS: I have not. I have not done a single poll.
BENSON: So how do you make these decisions then?
DESANTIS: I make them based off the facts, the data and my convictions. And my view is like, you know, if I polled you and like 10 of your friends on an issue, that’s a static analysis. That doesn’t tell me that if I set a vision, and I execute the vision then where will you guys come out. So I can move people —
BENSON: Like you moving —
DESANTIS: I’m moving people. I’m showing them that this is how a state should be governed. So I think what we’ve been willing to do is, you know, we do not let corporate media trim our sails. We’re willing to stand up against woke corporations, which, quite frankly, a lot of Republicans have been more corporate Republicans that defer to some of these corporations. Look, I want a limited government. I want a free enterprise economy. But when these big corporations are using their economic power to try and impose leftist ideologies, like in my state, we fight back on that. And then I think we’ve been strong at fighting back against Biden. So I think there’s a lot of those things. It’s also interesting, you know, we just had a cabinet meeting today. So we had a report about Florida’s finances. You know, we have — we have $18 billion in debt. We’ve reduced the debt by probably 20 percent, 25 percent since I’ve been governor. So out of $110 billion, $105 billion budget annually, our debt is only $18 billion. You contrast that with the federal government, you know, Biden just put out a $5.8 trillion budget, but there’s $30 trillion —
DESANTIS: — in debt. And so I think we’ve shown we have the lowest per capita tax burden in the country, we have no state income tax, but we meet all the needs. I just did a big increase of pay for teachers, the biggest in Florida history. We gave $1,000 bonuses to all cops and firefighters for the second year in a row. We’re doing a lot for our water resources to help our fisherman, our boaters, and our everglades. So we’re meeting the challenges that we have because we’re really creating a virtuous cycle. Good economic conditions attract more people. We expand the economic base whereas these blue states I think they create a vicious cycle. They tax and regulate so they repel people to leave their state. The base shrinks so they got to do it again to try to square the circle. And you just can’t have it. So states like Illinois, New York they are in a — in a tailspin and they’re not probably going to be willing to change their policies. But they would have to change the policies.
BENSON: Also had their schools closed for more than a year in those places. You made a decision last school year to bring the schools back open. Was that the most consequential decision you’ve made as governor so far?
DESANTIS: I think ultimately it will be. Because when I did this was like June of 2020, and the data was very clear, just to be honest. I mean, it wasn’t a difficult decision in terms of —
BENSON: Actual science?
DESANTIS: — yes, if you looked at the science, if you looked at places in Europe that had had schools open. If you looked at the fact that kids were at such low risk of COVID and really weren’t prime drivers of transmission. There was no basis to say kids should not be in school. So substantively if you followed the data that’s where you would have come out. However, politically and with the media, I mean, they thought this was the worst thing ever. A lot of parents were scared because CNN is telling them, you know, Little Johnny may end up dying of COVID if he goes to first grade. So we had a plan, we executed it. I got a diverse state, I’ve got a lot of Liberal school districts, I mean, most of them are conservative but I got some — we go tall the school districts on board, we structured it in a way that incentivized them to have five days a week. We gave parents the right initially to say, look, if you’re more comfortable with remote you can do it but that’s the parent’s choice. The school can’t lock the kid out. And so, having the kids in, letting them play sports, letting them do activities, letting them do all that. Had we not done that, the problems that would have developed I think would have been problems that we would have — it’d be seen by now. But they are problems that if you and I talked five years from now we would be seeing those problems. So we were able to really stand for the people who didn’t have much of a voice. And I think we — I mean, there’s a lot of decisions we’ve been vindicated on but that one I was opposed — this teacher’s union sued me, we beat them. All the Democrats were opposed, the media was opposed. No one will admit that they opposed me, to this day they will all act like they supported having the schools opened. So that tells you when you’re right.
BENSON: One of your critics is a fellow governor. I saw a recent interview with Gavin Newsome out in California, and he went out of his way in an interview to come after you. He said that you’re a performance artist. He said, “I do not look for inspiration to that particular governor, not on the pandemic, not on other policy including the absurdity that was his woke initiative and the laughability (ph) around stopping something that doesn’t exist, critical race theory.” That’s his quote. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he’s attacking you. What’s your response to that from Newsome?
DESANTIS: Well, first I would say how many people are moving from his state, fleeing to come to mine for freedom versus vice-versa? And I guarantee you we win in the net — in migration people are leaving California in numbers we’ve never seen because of his failed policies. And here’s what I’d say about the pandemic. If you look at the COVID mortality, people point out California has less per capita mortality than Florida, which is true — they’re also the second youngest state. So if you adjust by age, we’re one of the oldest states, we’ve very similar. However, this is where I think his leadership has been terrible. If you look at excess mortality, California’s had a higher percentage of excess mortality since COVID started than Florida — so that includes COVID, but it’s not limited. So what does —
BENSON: Those are lockdown deaths?
DESANTIS: Those are lockdown deaths, absolutely. Those are deaths that his policies have caused, driving people to despair, drug addiction, lack of opportunities. And so there’s — people vote with their feet. You know, you hear a lot of people like him. How many other governors have said the same thing he does, then they end up down in Palm Beach or Miami the first chance they get? You know, you have these —
BENSON: The DGA, the Democratic Governors’ Association had their event here.
DESANTIS: So what I like to say is people posture politically, and they do these talking points, but how they actually act really tells the story. And when people vote with their feet, yes there’s a lot of Californians who like what we’re doing who are coming, but even the ones that posture against Florida typically find their way here. And so, I think that the proof’s in the pudding when it comes to that.
BENSON: The slings and arrows from Democratic politicians, from the national media, from the White House. I mean, you have been called out from the podium by the president himself. My conclusion is they see you as a threat to their power. Are they right to see you as a threat nationally?
DESANTIS: Well look, I mean, I think if you look at what we’ve done to fight back against Brandon so far, you know, we succeed. I mean the contrast between a daughtering (ph) quasi senile president who has to have his press team clean up his remarks after every time he opens his mouth versus somebody like me who’s out there — I’m very direct, I say what I mean, I mean what I say, I lead and I get things done.You know, they understand that people view Florida as really being the leader of our country in many respects, we’re really leading the free world in many — I mean, I have people from Canada that will come here that will write in to me, Australia, Europe — and they say, we look to Florida as the new citadel of freedom. They’re not looking to Joe Biden for that because they know that he’s just not capable of producing the type of leadership that they do. But I absolutely think from the time COVID hit, I think the media wanted — they wanted to use it to defeat Trump in 2020. But they’ve tried to use it against me in any way they can. And then now that we’re on to other issues, they’re always trying to find a way to attack me and attack Florida. And I do think it’s because I’m able to expose them, I’m able to show people that the emperor has no clothes and they’re not used to that. I mean, they’re used to Republicans that will rollover for the left, and I just don’t do that, I stand by ground.
BENSON: And we will pick up on that exact theme when we come back. My exclusive one-on-one discussion with Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, at the Governor’s Mansion continues after this break.
From Tallahassee, Florida it’s The Guy Benson Show. We now continue with my conversation with Governor Ron DeSantis. So let’s talk about something that you did yesterday in the state. You signed into law this Parental Rights in Education Bill, it was hugely controversial in the media, it got a lot of national attention. I have had so many people bombarding me about this because I’m gay, I’m conservative, and I’m not subtle about the fact that overall I support what you’ve been doing down here in Florida. So of course, we’re going to talk about this. Just so you know where I’m coming from, the audience knows already — I’ve written about it, I’ve talked about it. I actually read the bill, a novel concept, seven pages, pretty easy. I think that the moniker don’t say gay is a misnomer. It is biased and lazy for the media to adopt it. It’s an activist slogan that does not reflect what’s actually in the law, number one. Number two, that K-3 provision that you talk about all the time, I think it’s unobjectionable, I think it’s commonsense and the polls are bearing that out — people, parents, Americans, Floridians support it. I do as well. I have two concerns about the law and I’m just curious to get your responses to them. Number one, when you get through the K-3 verbiage, literally in that same sentence it also bars classroom instruction on these types of issues sexual identity, gender identity that are “not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate at other grade levels.” That language strikes me as vague and subjective. Who gets to decide what is age appropriate later on? Like, in your mind, when would it become appropriate? Middle school, high school —
DESANTIS: So it’ll be a combination between the state board of education and the local school boards. And I think that you may see some parts of the state come to little bit different conclusions depending on the years on some of that stuff. But look, at the end of the day, I think the reason this became an issue — because when this first became an issue, you know, I wasn’t even aware of some of the stuff that’s going on. But with this transgender and the gender identity there isn’t an effort to try to tell people, well you know, you may not really be a boy, you may be a girl. And I think that’s totally inappropriate in the school system. You know, we need to focus on the normal things. And so I think that’s really the genesis of this. We had a lady yesterday who talked about her experience. Now, her daughter was a little older, daughter was in middle school here in Leon County. And she was in school, and the school administrators took it upon themselves to “transition her,” to a boy. They even gave her a boy’s name, they never got the parents’ consent and they never got the parents’ permission. So the curriculum issue, I think, is something that is important. You don’t want — I showed the thing of the genderbread man they created where they’re trying to say oh not really a boy, not really a girl. But the —
BENSON: And that’s clearly designed for younger kids —
DESANTIS: Very younger kids. But I think — the issue that I think is, what role does the parent have? I mean, if a school is doing something as drastic as trying to change somebody’s view of their own gender, does the parent not have a right to know that that’s going on in school? And —
BENSON: Right. I mean, it’s a fair question, and it’s a fair point. We’re up on a break, but that exchange wasn’t over. We’ll play the rest of it on the other side of this break, plus much more to get to and we will do so next with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on The Guy Benson Show.
It is the happy hour on The Guy Benson Show, coming to you from Tallahassee, Florida where earlier today I spoke with Governor Ron DeSantis at length in his office. When we left off, he and I were chatting about the controversial Parental Rights in Education Bill that he signed into law just yesterday. Our back and forth was substantive, it was respectful, and it wasn’t done. Here’s the rest of it before we move on to a variety of additional topics as well. Listen. The second concern that I had about it is, because I read these paragraphs in the law several times trying to make heads or tails of it. I talked to a couple lawyers conservative and liberal, and they said depending — and this could maybe be decided by lawsuits. But depending on how you read and apply some of this stuff, could it be interpreted as a requirement for schools, let’s say a high school student is struggling with coming out, and he decides to confide in a trusted teacher — a trusted counselor let’s say. Say hey, I’m struggling, I’m not sure what to make of this. I don’t want to tell my parents yet. Would the school then have to disclose that confidential conversation to a family? Is that a legitimate concern under this law? Because having gone through the process myself, it’s hard, right. And having those discussions in confidence with someone that you can trust without it necessarily being required to go somewhere is vital for young LGBT people. And my concern is if they feel like this law would require — Florida would require schools to, based on the mental wellbeing or the emotional wellbeing, which is how it’s written in the law — it’s kind of vague. If they’re going to be required to tell families, those conversations might get bottled up, they may not happen, and that could be harmful. I’m just curious your perspective on that.
DESANTIS: Right. So for one, the — before you get to that point, classroom instruction, sometimes people say like, can you even say something in class? That’s not what it is. It’s what’s the curriculum on that part?
BENSON: Instruction —
DESANTIS: Yeah, yeah. Second part of that is, it needs to be some type of service that’s provided in terms of a medical service. And so, when you’re dealing with things — like in California, you know, they had a girl who the school was administering hormones to — and she was depressed, and they should have treated the depression. They were trying to give her hormones. So she ended up committing suicide, the wife — or the mother is now suing. So I think it’s, if they’re doing something that is — just like if you took your kid to a doctor, you know —
BENSON: So it’s treatment, not a conversation.
DESANTIS: Right, exactly.
BENSON: OK —
DESANTIS: I think there needs to be some service that’s rendered in terms of a medical service, that way —
BENSON: That’s a very important distinction —
DESANTIS: — where a parent would have clearly the right to be informed and to object. And just think about it, I mean, before all this — like, people have conversations all the time. I mean, that’s never really been the issue that’s triggered this. I think the issue that’s triggered this is you have kids that are going in and they’re now being changed in terms of their gender identity. They’re being told — and it’s odd because —
BENSON: So, just to clarify, if a high school student came to his teacher that he really trusts, had him for several years said, hey, I’m having this issue. I might be gay, I’m not really sure. It is not your position that under this law that conversation would need to be —
DESANTIS: Not unless they’re getting a medical service.
BENSON: OK. Now, you mentioned world corporations (ph) a short while back. Let’s talk about Disney because that’s a huge employer in this state. People associate Disney with Florida for all the obvious reasons. I think I made my pilgrimage in fifth grade down to Orlando. I saw the statement that they put out yesterday, ripping the bill, ripping you indirectly for signing into law saying that they’re going to be fighting to take it off the books moving forward. Did you have conversations with the higher ups at Disney about this on the substance, and did they communicate to you whether they, let’s say, oppose that K-3 component? Because this is a company that caters to overwhelmingly parents and young children, are they against the K-3 things that the majority of the American people support?
DESANTIS: So here is I think why this statement was totally outrageous. I mean for two reasons. One they said it should have never been passed in the first place. I talked to our Speaker of the House after that statement came out; he said they never contacted him while they were working — while it was moving through the House of Representatives in Florida. They didn’t say anything about it. I mean they could have called them and said that they had problems with it. They didn’t do it. And so to say it should have never been law in the first place they were not even engaged at those critical processes. And so they’re responding to I would say left-wing activists and their rather than the actual substance of it. Secondly, for them to say that they’re going to work to repeal substantive rights of parents because it’s one thing if you’re taking a political position about, you know, don’t say gay. You know, you can’t say the word — and we know that’s not in the bill. But they would —
BENSON: Not even close.
DESANTIS: — they would — they would be targeting provisions that provide parents substantive protections. And so I think they overstepped their bounds with that statement. They do not run this state. I’m not going to let our state be hijacked by a bunch of California corporate executives. And the fact of the matter is I think they think that they want ever they want in Florida they get. That may have been true in the past, that is not true now. And we’re going to govern this state based on the best interest of the people of Florida not what any corporation but particularly that corporation is demanding.
BENSON Got to ask you this, too You must be probably prodded and prompted everyday by someone asking about your ambitions beyond 2022. And I know that the goal of you and your campaign right now is to win a big reelection in Florida. You seem to be on-track to do that. I’m not going to ask you — look if you want to announce you’re running for President, by all means do it right here, right now. I’m not going to ask you that question directly. I’m going to ask you this instead. When you hear that buzz directly or indirectly, how does that play into your thinking? Do you just kind of put it in box and set it aside until next year or something? Is it something that, you know, sometimes you daydream about? What’s your thought process? Because no one ever asked me to run for President so I don’t know how I would think about it. But if people were asking me all the time, I don’t know how I would manage that internally. I’m just curious how you do?
DESANTIS: Well I mean a couple of things. One is, you know, people have this merchandise with like ’24, it’s not my merchandise. So just so you know, that’s totally organic.
BENSON: You’re making it, OK.
DESANTIS: They’re doing it. People will come up to me with this on and they will talk about 2024. The number one response I have to them in Florida is you know I’m running in 2022, right. And honestly some of them don’t. And so we’re going to make sure we educate everyone, you know, that we’ve got a really important election, you know, in 2022. But here’s the thing, I’ve never been to Iowa in my life. I have never been to New Hampshire. I think I may have been there in my 20’s. I’m just doing my job and so I’m not doing anything differently than I would do whether people were buzzing about me or not. I’m trying to do the best I can for the people I represent. I’m fulfilling my campaign promises and I’m willing to make tough decisions and lead. And so that has caused people to recognize me and view me as a leader. But it’s not because I’m out there parading around or doing anything of that. So I appreciate when people look — I mean I’ll get — I get letters into my office every day from people around the country, you know, just saying, you know, we wish the country could be more like Florida. We’ve love to be able, you know, to see you run sometime. But at the same time, you know, I’ve got a wife that’s, you know, successfully battling breast cancer. I’ve got a 5-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old and I got the best state in the country right now to do. So I have my hands full. So I spend really zero time thinking about it except when people come up to me. And they’re all very well intentioned. I mean they all really, you know, mean well. But at the end of the day, you know, it’s really neither here nor there for me.
BENSON: Last political question before a quick lightning round on non-political stuff. You have a constituent in Florida — he lives, I believe, in Palm Beach. People have heard of him, he was the President for a while there, for four years. He’s been hinting very heavily that he wants to run again. If he were to run again, should he be a heavy frontrunner for the Republicans by virtue of his previous position or should it be a wide-open field?
DESANTIS: Well look I saw some news that he made a hole-in-one the other day at his course.
DESANTIS: So I just want to congratulate him. You know, I’ve been able to play —
BENSON: He was very excited about it.
DESANTIS: — I’ve been able to play golf with him over the years and, you know, he’s got a very good game and he’s a good player. And so, you know, who knows. I mean, you know, we’ll see kind of how all the — how all the dust settles on this. What I tell people, you know, with me in Florida is, you know, I plan on being the nominee, our filing hasn’t happened yet, and I think I’ve earned it. But you know what, I mean if someone wants to run against me they can. I mean I have to earn it every step of the way. I’ve got to earn —
BENSON: In the primary here?
DESANTIS: I’ve got to earn and then I’ve got to earn the general election. That’s just the reality. Although the Republican Party of Florida did officially endorse me. I don’t know what that mean but I think someone could still run. But hopefully they won’t run. So — but —
BENSON: It sounds like one step at a time is the answer here.
DESANTIS: Yes, I think so.
BENSON: All right rapid-fire stuff. A lot of Floridians in a certain of your state were probably pretty thrilled and shocked when Tom Brady unannounced, right? He’s like never mind I’m coming back. You a Brady guy? You excited to have him back with the Bucs?
DESANTIS: 100 percent. So I grew up in that area, and I was a fan when they had the orange uniforms and when they used to have losing records year after year. You know, when Tony Dungy came on, he built a championship team. John Gruden took them over the hump and they won the Super Bowl. But it’s been rough sledding throughout last decade until Tom came. And that was a huge thing. And I think — I think, you know, he won the Super Bowl the first year, which was incredible. And if you look back at last year, I think he viewed it as probably his last year. But think about it, had they beat the Rams they would have probably beat the 49ers and the Bengals, I really believe that. I think they would have won back-to-back. And they were banged up and, you know, he had one of the best years not only of his career but of really any quarterback.
BENSON: And he’s performing.
DESANTIS: I mean it was — it was unbelievable. And so I think it was kind of the natural end of the career but then I think he started thinking, you know, we should have won the Super Bowl. We can do it if we get healthy, we add some stuff. So I was thrilled when it happened. I was sad when they lost. I was sad when he retired. But, you know, he’s the best football player of all-time. And he’s the best — probably the best team sport player of all-time. I never thought I would see someone better than Michael Jordan but if you think about it with what Brady’s been able to do by winning all those Super Bowls and to perform that way at that age and football is tough. I mean like this is a tough sport. He’s really head and shoulders above everybody.
BENSON: People often see you as kind of this political gladiator. You’re out there doing stuff, you’re out there taking like 60 minutes at the cleaners and, you know, every day it’s sort of relentless. What do you do to unwind that people might not know about?
DESANTIS: Chase my kids around. So I’ve got a five-year old daughter, a four-year old son and a two-year old daughter. My two oldest they love sports. My son loves golf and baseball. They love to swim. And so if I’m home on the weekend I’m not really resting, I’m not really getting any rest but it’s like we’re doing things and it’s probably been — you can look at your life before you were a parent and after a parent. There’s a clear divide. And so, you know, we’re very fortunate. We’re the youngest family that’s been in this Governor’s mansion since the 1800s. And I’m sorry, I think I’m still the youngest Governor in the country right now. But we haven’t had young kids like this — to have a big young family here. So it’s interesting. People see me out there doing this and then if they were only here seeing me like chase them around there and doing all this stuff. But that’s what we do.
BENSON: (Inaudible) baseball gear out front that I saw (inaudible).
DESANTIS: That’s right, oh, yes, no we set them right up in front of the Governor’s mansion. They’ll hit off the tee and then we’ll pick up the balls and then we’ll do that. And so it’s a lot of fun.
BENSON: You can pick one or both of these questions. What is the best book you read in the lat year? And what is a guilty pleasure TV show that you like to binge?
DESANTIS: You know, it’s interesting I mean I started watching “Yellowstone” over the — over the Christmas holiday and I think — and I think it’s a good show. Part of it, I mean Montana is beautiful. I’m just thinking like my wife’s watching that, she’s like oh, man, we need to go to Montana. So that’s fun for that. But, you know, the — what I try to do in terms of reading books is, you know, I try to just go back and read some of the things that are — that are really epic in history. I mean I know there’s new books that come out and I bet Mollie Hemingway did a good job on the election and there’s some other good ones I’ve read. But, you know, you can pick up something like “The Art of War”, you can read that in one sitting. I mean it’s a pretty small thing. You know, you can read some of these things that have really (inaudible). And there’s a lot of wisdom in there. And so I go back, and I will do that. And, you know, I read — I’ll read some “Federalist” essays. I’ll do things like that because I think it gets your mind going in a very sharp way. And so —
BENSON: You really are constitutionalist nerd, aren’t you? You’re like I just want to kick back and read the “Federalist Papers”.
DESANTIS: Well it’s timely and I think if you look at how they dealt with some of these issues you find out human nature has not changed. OK, these are perennial issues about self-government, about liberty and as we see these different storms in our time, the underlying principles that they articulated are just as applicable today as they were then. Yes, the window dressing looks a little bit different because society’s changed. But those insights are very strong.
BENSON: Last certainly not least, you mentioned her earlier, the First Lady. A scare with breast cancer, some really exciting news in the last few weeks. How is she — how has this been for your family?
DESANTIS: So she’s officially cancer-free. Now she’s still got to go through some of the radiation and stuff but that’s much easier than the chemotherapy was. And so she’s doing really well, she’s responding really well and — but what I think it just shows for all the women out there, you know, when this — when you get that diagnosis it’s very, very scary because, you know, your life, you know theoretically is hanging in the balance. But I could tell that you will — you have a great chance to beat this. Hang in there, fight the fight. They do great things nowadays in terms of the medical. And I think she’s an example of that. That you can get through this. And so I’m really proud of how she’s handled it. It is not easy dealing with at any time. But to have three little kids and then be in the public eye like she is, you know, it really was a — it really was a difficult time. But she’s handled it well and she will be back full strength very, very soon. So stay tuned.
BENSON: Governor, thanks for inviting me into your state and into your home. This was really cool. Looking forward to chatting again. Really appreciate it.
DESANTIS: All right, thanks so much.
BENSON: Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida on “The Guy Benson Show”.