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.
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.”