‘Worst Governor in modern history’: Charlie Crist calls DeSantis ‘authoritarian’ in campaign anniversary speech
Charlie Crist blasts Ron DeSantis for not acting fast enough to relieve the pain at the pump.

Desantis Crist
“Ron DeSantis is nothing but a power-hungry bully, trying to bluster his way to the White House without doing a single damn thing for Florida.”

In a speech marking the first anniversary of his campaign, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist called Gov. Ron DeSantis an authoritarian who is the “worst Governor in modern Florida history.” 

DeSantis imitates the worst authoritarian leaders aligned against the United States, Crist said, with the Governor’s approval of increased abortion restrictions, creating an elections police force, erasing Black congressional districts and attacking Disney for its opposition to the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill.

He pointed out that none of those actions are helping Floridians and are meant to lay the groundwork for a potential 2024 Presidential run.

“Ron DeSantis is nothing but a power-hungry bully, trying to bluster his way to the White House without doing a single damn thing for Florida,” Crist said. “No previous Governor has posed such a direct threat to our prosperity and our democracy.”

Crist said several of DeSantis’ actions are likely unconstitutional, such as the two Black congressional district erasures and the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District after Disney’s stance. However, he finds it unlikely any checks and balances will exist over DeSantis for as long as he stays at the Governor’s mansion.

“The Republican-controlled legislature is so cowed by this governor that when he says jump, they merely ask ‘how high.’ The judicial branch after three years spent stacking the bench with right-wing ideologues and another on the way this summer. It’s unclear if anyone will cross Governor DeSantis even if his laws are unconstitutional,” Crist said.

He said DeSantis might be inspired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who would approve of how the Governor was running Florida.

“Or maybe it’s Fidel Castro, or Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, or Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, all dictators who would nod in approval with how he is running our state,” Crist said.

Crist said DeSantis’ actions come as Florida has become the most expensive state in America and faces rising rent prices and teacher shortages.

He is ready to stop DeSantis, Crist boasted.

“It pains me to see the damage this Governor has inflicted upon our state in less than four years,” Crist said. “Inside every bully, there’s a coward scared that you will call them out. Well, I’m calling him out. And we have a moral responsibility to do so and to stop him.”

He said Floridians are ready for a Governor who listens, respects the state’s businesses and communities, and cares about people’s lives. He said his experience as a past Florida Governor means he is ready to do that from Day 1 if elected.

“They are ready for a Governor willing to fight for them, not against them,” Crist said. “I’m running to restore our opportunity to our state to make Florida a place where the American Dream shines as bright as the sun in the Sunshine State.”

Tristan Wood

Tristan Wood graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. A South Florida native, he has a passion for political and accountability reporting. He previously reported for Fresh Take Florida, a news service that covers the Florida Legislature and state political stories operating out of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. You can reach Tristan at [email protected], or on Twitter @TristanDWood


29 comments

  • SteveHC

    May 4, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    Can’t say I disagree with Crist…

  • Impeach Biden

    May 4, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    Charlie, Florida is expensive because it is very popular due to the fact that the state has been open, contrast with many of the “Blue” states out there. It’s Economics 101, a subject that your party seems to have no clue about

    • There

      May 5, 2022 at 4:06 am

      Florida is expensive because wages are nothing and it’s gonna be the next california housing bubble lol

  • Ron Ogden

    May 4, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    That’s all we’re going to here from him for the next six months, because he has absolutely NOTHING to say about himself. Not that anyone would believe him, anyway. Florida knows better than to accept anything Charlie says as anything but campaign-slogan whitewash.
    It’s a shame. Charlie has gifts, but he has done nothing with them for 40 years except draw down the public purse. Rather than be the natural leader he could have been if he had stuck to some kind of principle, he has been little more than a stooge to his own ambition, a weathervane blowing in the wind, always in search of “What’s good for me in this campaign.”

  • Richard Bruce

    May 4, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Not one example of damage, except what Gov Desantis has done to the Democratic Party.

  • L Smith

    May 4, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Charlie Crist will do nothing like he did before when he was governor except only what is good for him
    Our governor now has done great things for our state

  • martin

    May 4, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    charlie must be off of his meds….where are the guys in white coats?

  • Betty White

    May 4, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    Seems like people do not want you in office! Just reading what was posted you did nothing. Kind of hard to stand next to DeSantis who has stood up against everything they threw at him.

  • Betty

    May 4, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    Sounds a little bit like Biden.

  • tom palmer

    May 4, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    Charlie has it right. I’ve lived in this state since Fuller Warren was governor. Ron DeSantis has been a big disappointment. I hope there is a change in November.

    • Harry kamalatoe

      May 5, 2022 at 1:52 pm

      disappointment…? The state added over 300k new residence in 2 years, one of the strongest economies of all 50 states, one of the lowest unemployment rates of all 50 states.

      • tom palmer

        May 5, 2022 at 7:11 pm

        Oh, good, he made the state more crowded. Good job.

  • JW

    May 4, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Drae Charlie,

    You were a Republican a Democrat and now a sad Gay Senior with nothing to do except complain about your aches and pains and blame DeSantis for your woes considering you lost your do nothing Congressional seat. The State is MUCH BETTER OFF without you or your former Gubenatorial Candidate Club Buddy who was found naked on the floor in a South Beach apartment. Oh and we all will remember you were college roommates with another disgraceful Congressman from Palm Beach, Mark Foley. My you get around. Your adverse character stands for itself.

    • tom palmer

      May 5, 2022 at 7:27 pm

      Glad to see the GOP bigots are out today.

  • ScienceBLVR

    May 4, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    Charlie has been consistently elected and re-elected in Florida, so to say he’s not popular is not based in reality. Can he beat DeSantis here, now? Doubtful, but there is no question that DeSantis is the worst governor we have had in Florida in the 40 years I’ve been here. Don’t you folks care that he’s done nothing to help the average Floridian who doesn’t live in the Villages, or have kids who attend a charter school? Wake up and vote him out!

    • nonamebob

      May 5, 2022 at 12:11 am

      I don’t live in the Villages or have kids – yet DeSantis has improved my quality of life for sure. He is the first governor that I’m proud to have. He isnt just lip service and he does what he says.

      Florida also fared better than just about anywhere else, due to his policies. He is the first governor I’ve ever seen that is committed to actually being a leader, instead of passing the buck to someone else. He takes ownership and delivers results.

      DeSantis was able to grow Florida’s economy, keep my family employed, and as a result food is still on my table. Unlike me, my family in NY were locked down, had their schools and businesses closed, and were financially devastated by people like Christ.

      I am more “Awake” than ever. Thank god for leaders like DeSantis and will be voting for him again.

      • tom palmer

        May 5, 2022 at 7:16 pm

        You must be new here. We have had a lot of great governors who provided leadership on ethics, growth management and environmental protection. DeSantis and his cronies have reversed all of that.

    • nonamebob

      May 5, 2022 at 12:36 am

      BTW… Christ lost a race for US Senate.. twice. He also knew he couldn’t win governor again and therefore he didnt run for re-election.

      In his second attempt at the US senate, he lost by 19 points (which happened while he was still the sitting governor – kind of embarrassing IMO.)

      In fact, in the 30 years since he entered politics, he’s only been “re-elected” to two seats. Re-elected as a state senator in the early 90s and re-elected as a US House Representative in 2020.

      in 2014 he ran for governor against Rick Scott and lost yet again.

      I certainly wouldn’t describe that as “consistently elected and re-elected.”

  • Glenda Melvin

    May 4, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    We are extremely happy with Gov. Desantis’ leadership in Florida. Why should would listen to Charlie Crist after he bailed on his party! Now he wants to be Govenor again?? Nope!!

    • nonamebob

      May 5, 2022 at 12:16 am

      He was a crummy governor when he was in office. He didnt run for re-election because he knew he couldn’t win. Ran for Senate instead and lost by 19 points. Not exactly a sign of enthusiasm…

  • PeterH

    May 5, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    Crist is absolutely correct. DeSantis has adopted the losing policies of our neighboring States of Alabama and Mississippi.

    By far DeSantis is the worse Governor in Florida’s history and his policies come close to his second in line worse Governor Greg Abbott!

    • Harry kamalatoe

      May 5, 2022 at 1:56 pm

      Hey Pete… Mississippi isn’t a neighboring state to Florida. I know geography is hard for some but you are literally posting something using the internet…Use it to look at a map.

      • tom palmer

        May 5, 2022 at 7:25 pm

        He didn’t say next-door neighbors.

  • Ron Desantis

    May 5, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Say what you want but, I as Governor has done more than any other Governor since 2019. I have made sure that every Floridian doesn’t be forced in this Covid theater.

    • tom palmer

      May 5, 2022 at 7:09 pm

      Speaking of theatrics….

  • Tom

    May 6, 2022 at 8:06 am

    Camillion is a loser.
    Such hate, venom, lies, disdain and falsehoods.
    Camillion crispy critters has nothing to offer.
    Per the sick Lincoln group he has gone total Manchurian at outset! Tell morning “hoe” to run.
    The 5% Manchurian haters on this page are disgusting beings. FP is a total discharge for Charlie. Peter S, Joe H and others total apologists for Camillion crisp
    Such a great, wonderful, classy whiz kid Governor. The best economy in country, $20 billion in reserves per his stewardship. 3.2% unemployment, 8.7% wage growth, third country.
    Most expanded access school vouchers for education. Best effective environmental Governor in 50 yrs. Most seniors inoculated in USA, per Biden’s HHS. Educators/teachers, law enforcement, and first responders multiple raises, bonuses.
    People earning, living, happy, quality of life.
    Rising tide for all in Florida. DeSantis is #1, American original, saving Florida.
    Do for America what you have for Florida.
    Tallahassee Gov mansion to WH Oval.
    DeSantis wins 53% to 47%.

    • tom palmer

      May 6, 2022 at 9:05 am

      Most effective environmental governor in 50 years? No way. He’s continued the downward trend that began during the Jeb Bush administration.

      DEP=Don’t Expect Protection

  • Donna

    May 6, 2022 at 9:55 am

    “Best effective environmental Governor in 50 yrs”

    What do you call Piney Point?

    Florida regulators authorized the discharge of up to 480 million gallons of wastewater from the Piney Point phosphogypsum stack into Tampa Bay following years of regulatory failures and mismanagement. The Piney Point gypstack is a mountain of toxic waste, topped by an impoundment of hundreds of millions of gallons of process wastewater, stormwater and tons of dredged spoil from Port Manatee.

    “The Piney Point disaster is Exhibit A in a long list of Florida’s failures to protect our water and wildlife from the harms of phosphogypsum,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Even as state officials scramble to clean up Piney Point, they have drafted a permit to authorize a 230-acre expansion of the sinkhole-prone New Wales gypstack that leaked 215 million gallons of wastewater into the Floridan aquifer.”

    “Piney Point was and still is a ticking timebomb,” said Justin Bloom, Suncoast Waterkeeper founder and board member. “Rather than closing it when they had the chance, FDEP allowed the site to become even more dangerous, knowing full well the risk of collapse and catastrophic contamination. Now Manatee County is seeking to inject the hundreds of millions of gallons of remaining hazardous wastewater into our groundwater. We’re not confident in our regulators’ ability to manage this mess and this legal action is necessary to protect our communities and waterways from further harm.”

  • Tom

    May 8, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    At least a Dozen environmental initiatives have been funded by Govs efforts and legislature.
    Just this past week Gov. announced manatee protection. His efforts on Lake O is of legend.

    Piney point is not his fault , but he’s cleaning it up. It’s on him to address as he is. He’s funded actuaries and waterways clean up with restoration.

    Yes, the best environmental Gov in 50 yrs.
    Florida clearly is the best state in country.
    America’s Gov leads the way.

Comments are closed.


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