Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Enters US President Race, Seen As Trump’s Biggest Challenger — Al

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday witnessed a chaotic start to his 2024 presidential election race when glitches marred his interview hosted by Twitter owner Elon Musk as the programme intended to formally launch DeSantis’ campaign for the top job. The Twitter broadcast of the hour-long lost sound for an extended period and thousands of users were either unable to join or were dropped. He enters the race for a Republican ticket against his one-time ally, former US president Donald Trump.

According to news agency Reuters, DeSantis, during the inauspicious start of his campaign, said: “We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years.”

The Florida governor positioned himself as a get-it-done executive who opposed to the federal government’s policies and put an indelibly conservative stamp on his home state.

The 44-year-old Republican candidate has immediately become Trump’s biggest rival for the Republican nomination because of his rising national profile, Reuters reported.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: Experience In US Navy, Guantánamo Bay, ‘War On Woke Culture’ — All About Him

  • DeSantis, 44, was born in Florida’s Jacksonville to an Italian-American family. As per The Guardian, he is described as a “native Floridian with blue-collar roots”. He was brought up in Dunedin, a city on Florida’s Gulf Coast where his mother worked as a nurse and his father installed Nielsen TV ratings boxes.
  • DeSantis pursued BA in history from Yale and graduated from the University in 2001. After graduation, DeSantis briefly taught at Darlington School, a private boarding school in Rome, Georgia. According to a New York Times report published in November 2022, a former student at Darlington claimed that DeSantis, while teaching civil war history, tried to “play devil’s advocate that the South had good reason to fight that war, to kill other people, over owning people – Black people”.

    After his stint at Darlington, DeSantis attended Harvard Law School and graduated in 2005 with cum laude honors.

  • At Harvard, DeSantis was commissioned into the US Navy as a judge advocate general’s corps (JAGs) officer. Notably, he was stationed at the detention center in Guantánamo Bay in 2006.
  • An Al Jazeera op-ed reported former Guantánamo detainee Mansoor Adayfi as claiming that DeSantis was present and was “smiling and laughing” while Adayfi was being force-fed by guards in an attempt to end his hunger strike. DeSantis responded to the Adayfi’s accusation, calling it “totally BS”.
  • In 2007, he was deployed to Iraq where he served as a legal adviser to Seal Team One. Later, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal.
  • In 2012, DeSantis ran for the US Congress and served three terms before retiring in 2018 to run for Governor. According to The Guardian, in 2015, DeSantis was among those who helped form the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus with the aim of shifting Republican leadership and policies as far right as possible.
  • The Florida Governor became a national figure due to his aggressive criticism of Covid measures including lockdowns and mask mandates. He also spread vaccine denialism among people.
  • In Florida, DeSantis has launched a war against “woke” culture with a slew of bills that were criticised by civil rights organisations. In 2022, DeSantis approved the so-called “don’t say gay” ban which aimed to stop discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity at school across all grade levels. In January this year, he banned African American studies from Florida’s high schools claiming that the course “lacks educational value”.

    He also signed a bill approving a six-week abortion ban in the US state. As per The Guardian’s report, he has announced plans to prohibit state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory.

  • His wife Casey DeSantis, a former television host, is described as her husband’s “biggest asset” who helped change his public perception be it helping him contour his face or playing a high-profile role by her husband’s side, the report mentioned.

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