Ron DeSantis slams ‘once-great’ San Francisco during California trip
Ron DeSantis in San Francisco. Screenshot via DeSantis For President.

Screen Shot 2023-06-21 at 9.26.00 AM
'We saw people defecating on the street.'

Enough billionaires live in San Francisco that Ron DeSantis traveled to the liberal haven to fundraise there. But he didn’t leave town without posting a video decrying a mass exodus from the city.

The Florida Governor stood in front of a graffiti-covered wall in San Francisco and spoke directly to the camera. The presidential campaign released a one-minute video of the candidate online.

“We’re here in the once great city of San Francisco,” he said. “We came in here and we saw people defecating on the street. We saw people using heroin. We saw people smoking crack cocaine.”

The sightseeing occurred during a campaign swing through the Golden State.

“You look around, the city is not vibrant anymore,” he said. “It’s really collapsed because of leftist policies. These policies have caused people to flee this area.”

DeSantis blames lax enforcement of street crime.

Former District Attorney Chesa Boudin came under fire nationally for reform policies of sending low-level drug offenders to treatment instead of jail and declining to try minors as adults. Notably, voters recalled Boudin last year.

But the city has continued to see surges in shoplifting and other crimes as prosecutions remain low and stores close.

“They don’t prosecute criminals like they do in most parts of the country,” DeSantis said, “and wreckage has really, really been sad to see. So I’ve seen so many businesses boarded up. I’ve seen so much riff-raff just running around.”

Notably, DeSantis last year suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, who he has called a George Soros-backed prosecutor unwilling to try criminals. He has considered the same fate for Orange County State Attorney Monique Worrell for similar reasoning.

DeSantis has regularly made contrasts between Florida and California a central theme of his presidential campaign, regularly feuding with California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a back-and-forth apparently beneficial to both politicians.

His description of San Francisco furthered that message.

“It just shows you these policies matter. Leadership matters,” DeSantis said. “They are doing it wrong here. No wonder why we’ve had so many people move from San Francisco to Florida over the past few years. We’ve got to stop this madness. We need to restore sanity to this country.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

    June 21, 2023 at 10:48 am

    San Francisco is literally Capitalism running out of control.
    The place has become so incredibly expensive due to greed and excess that few can afford it anymore, so homelessness and crime there is exploding.

  • Tom

    June 21, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Clearly he needs to take a long hard look at some of our cities. There are parts of Tampa and Miami that are no better. Homelessness, drugs, guns and expensive housing are a national problems which, if he gets his way, will be his problem but he only seems to care about culture wars and blaming others. Silly, little man.

    • Impeach Biden

      June 21, 2023 at 11:45 am

      Have you been to San Francisco lately or are you just spewing BS? The last time I was there was the night Obama won the Presidency. Now I have a good friend that travels there regularly as his son lives out there. Tells me stories all the time in what a dump it has turned into. Homeless people everywhere. Smash and grab autos with anything on the inside. Garbage all over the streets and you have retailers shutting down as all those Democrats take things from the stores and don’t bother to pay. How about the infrastructure? You would think with some of the highest state taxes in the nation the infrastructure would be impeccable. Even in 2008 the highway system was horribly maintained. Move out there and see it for yourself. You’ll fit right in.

      • Tom

        June 21, 2023 at 3:06 pm

        I was there in May actually. It’s definitely got a bit messy downtown since the pandemic when all the workers decamped but net-net, it’s just a big city. I was tripping over homeless people in Fort Myers last weekend as well. I get your narrative is to pick blue states and call then sh1tholes but there are no shortages of homeless in pretty much every big city in the US if not the world. Welcome to the great American experiment.

        • Earl Pitts American

          June 22, 2023 at 9:35 pm

          Dook 4 Brains obviously leads to Dook 4 Streets. Yeah.

      • Jay Smif

        June 21, 2023 at 3:22 pm

        Have you set foot in St. Augustine lately, Cletus? There were more oxy-addled white-trash zombies littering and panhanding on the historic streets then there were tourists earlier this year.

        You think that people aren’t doing their shopping online, and that the homeless are “voting,” weak little conservative slob?

        • Earl Pitts American

          June 22, 2023 at 9:37 pm

          But they havent yet started Dooking in the streets.
          So theres that.

      • railfan

        June 22, 2023 at 8:10 am

        Florida is being destroyed by far right extremists like you. Tampa and St Petersburg voted for far right governor Ron DeSantis. I have no use for those right wing places.

  • PeterH

    June 21, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Spend some time in downtown Miami Ron ….. meeting with the city’s homeless population……and the possibilities are endless! Hold onto your luggage and backpack!

    • Michael K

      June 21, 2023 at 12:02 pm

      Ron should look at some of the horrid living conditions in parts of rural Florida. But he was too busy signing the budget and his vetoes at a yacht club to bother. Nothing says man of the people like a yacht club.

      And yes, every city in Florida has a problem with homeless people – many of whom lost their homes and are trapped in a cycle of poverty exacerbated by greed.

  • Michael K

    June 21, 2023 at 11:42 am

    DeSantis hates San Francisco so much he went there to hoover up money.

    Love this description of Chris Christie from Frank Bruni:

    Christie is to DeSantis what a Roman candle is to a scented votive. He explodes in a riot of color. DeSantis, on his best days, flickers.

  • Dale A Arnold

    June 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    Yet he is there begging for money… So what’s his solution? Jail them all? Someone could take a cam a do the same in Miami… What is his solution?
    He can’t even deal with Florida’s real problems.. He just runs around fighting culture wars and banning stuff.. Oh maybe that’s his solution ban homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness.

    • railfan

      June 22, 2023 at 8:13 am

      Trump and DeSantis have always wanted to jail them all.

    • Dont Say FLA

      June 22, 2023 at 7:15 pm

      Can’t post videos of Florida’s homeless pooping in the streets because the YT blocks the Nazi insignias they’re all waving and wearing while pooping in the streets outside of Free Willy

  • Joe

    June 21, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    “We came in here and we saw people defecating on the street. We saw people using heroin. We saw people smoking crack cocaine.”
    These things happen in every major city in Florida too.

    • Tom

      June 21, 2023 at 3:12 pm

      I can’t quite see him wandering around the mission district in his white boots somehow. He won’t even fly commercial but somehow, he has the time to go out and meet with his future constituents just to get a feel for the rest of the country and see how homeless folks feel about drag queens.

  • Michael K

    June 21, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    Perhaps they were defecating in the street to show what they think of the thin-skinned Florida fascist who charters private jets to ship migrants to other cities like cheap pawns?

    I’d like to know more details about the location of that video shot. I didn’t see anyone defecating in the background. He’s one sick puppy – a one schtick tyrant, who will lie about anything to rile up the right wing MAGAts.

  • Brent W

    June 21, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    “Policies” Oh, that’s rich.l and convenient. SF is where it is because it overindexed on tech and finance, creating a fragile economic monoculture. When the conditions of that monoculture’s success changed – Covid-inspired remote work – the bottom fell out.

    With everyone making hand-over-fist money in VC cash, they could afford to evict kids, the elderly, the middle class, Blacks, teachers, artists, firemen, etc. when so much money was left on the table.

    When that dried up, there was nothing left to take its place but unfettered drug dealers and homeless who never had the choice to leave town.

    So is the cautionary tale of unfettered greed of a city that sold its soul to the highest bidder, only to fall out of fashion with those bidders.

  • Christian Grifter

    June 21, 2023 at 7:25 pm

    Filthy Christian grifter

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 22, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    San Fran wannabees and their kid stuff heroin, lol. San Fran should be full of fentanyl like moody Rhonda’s buddy Ashley says Florida is.

  • Antonio

    June 22, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    Gotta love all the comments from people that have likely never been to San Francisco. I have been going there about once or twice a year for decades now and the place has fallen hard. It is not capitalism, it is not covid, it is the policies put in place. If you lower the consequences for criminal acts, crime will fester and grow. Sure, San Francisco has always been expensive, and although most of the tech companies are closer to San Jose than to SF, one can make the argument that the tech company boom has made things more expensive, but it’s always had areas that were sketchy. However, these areas have spread out and gotten extremely worse due to the social policy changes imposed by Sacramento and the last few mayors of the city. Even before 2020, there were sidewalk flea markets at night on Market St where people would sell all the stuff they had stolen from stores during the day for pennies on the dollar. How? Because in SF any theft below $750 is considered a misdemeanor and police don’t enforce or arrest. That is unsustainable, and it is why so may businesses in the downtown area are bailing out. Here’s a partial list of some businesses that have left with most listing the reason as due to “unsafe conditions for customers, retailers, and employees.”:

    May 2023 Nordstrom 865 Market St.
    May 2023 Nordstrom Rack 901 Market St.
    May 2023 Saks Off 5th 901 Market St.
    April 2023 Anthropologie 880 Market St.
    April 2023 Office Depot 33 Third St.
    March 2023 Amazon Go 98 Post St.
    March 2023 Arc’teryx 300 Grant Ave.
    February 2023 The RealReal 253 Post St.
    January 2023 CB2 34 Ellis St.
    January 2023 Banana Republic 256 Grant Ave.
    January 2023 Athleta 255 Sutter St.
    November 2022 The Container Store 29 4th St.
    February 2022 Crate & Barrel 55 Stockton St.
    January 2022 Abercrombie & Fitch 865 Market St.
    November 2021 DSW 400 Post St.
    August 2021 Disney 39 Stockton St.
    February 2021 Uniqlo 111 Powell St.
    January 2021 Marshall’s 760 Market St.
    November 2020 H & M 150 Powell St.
    August 2020 Gap 890 Market St.

    And as I mentioned, that is a partial list. There are more businesses that have also given up on the city and that is due to city policy, particularly in regards to crime. People can argue this all they want, and I know that a lot of younger people will not get it because they have not experienced enough life to realize this as a lot of these policy changes can take some time to become obvious, but it is the case. For example, NYC between Dinkins in the late 80’s and Giuliani in the 90’s. One can argue about the merits and extremes of either Mayor, but the results of the policy changes are crystal clear when you see the difference in what the city looked like by the late 90’s. And now in 2023, one can clearly see what the reversal of those policies in the last decade has done to the city.

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