Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is firing back after some of his would-be rivals for the 2024 GOP presidential nod took swipes at him in recent days.
“If you’re an office holder and you’re just sitting there twiddling your thumbs and not getting anything done, no one ever says anything,” he said during a Monday appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “You can kind of just fly under the radar.”
“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,” he continued. “But I can just tell you, if people are not firing at me, then I must not be doing my job.”
DeSantis hasn’t jumped into the race for the White House yet, but he is said to be preparing for a campaign and is widely viewed as an early front-runner for the Republican nomination.
That has made him a prime target for other Republicans who are either already running for the GOP nod or may jump into the race soon.
He’s drawn fire from former President Trump for months, while just last week, another 2024 hopeful, Nikki Haley, said that the Florida governor’s controversial Parental Rights in Education Act, which bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, doesn’t go “far enough.”
And on Sunday, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who is weighing a presidential bid, criticized DeSantis’s education initiatives, calling them “authoritarian” and an example of “big government.”
DeSantis isn’t a stranger to political fights, frequently using the bully pulpit of the Florida governor’s mansion to go after his opponents. But he’s largely avoided engaging with his potential 2024 rivals.
After Trump criticized him last month over his early response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DeSantis responded with a simple reminder that he won his 2022 reelection bid by the largest margin in a Florida gubernatorial contest in four decades.
“When you’re an elected executive, you have to make all kinds of decisions. You got to steer that ship. And the good thing is, is that the people are able to render a judgment on that — whether they reelect you or not,” DeSantis said at a news conference last month.
“And I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win reelection. We won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida.”