PITTSBURGH (NBC News) – Governor Ron DeSantis said in a campaign-style speech on Thursday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that his “battle” has only just begun.
According to NBC News, DeSantis spoke at the Allegheny County’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner in the premier battlefield state for pandemic shutdowns, critical racial theory and the mainstream press.
DeSantis is viewed by some as a potential GOP 2024 presidential candidate who has raised its profile during the pandemic. The Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll in Florida earlier this year found DeSantis to be in second place behind Trump.
The governor opened his speech with a call to “open your states, open your schools [and] take off these mask mandates. “In Pennsylvania, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has ruled that the mask mandate should be lifted when 70 percent of adults are vaccinated. All other mitigation measures are due to be lifted on Memorial Day.
DeSantis then promoted new voting efforts, counterinsurgency laws, and efforts to remove critical racial theory from the Florida curriculum.
“As we look forward to the fighting to come, we cannot, in fact we will not go back to the days of yesterday’s failed Republican establishment,” he said. “We won’t do that.”
DeSantis also challenged attendees to hold their own and teased his plans for the future.
“Hold on. Don’t go back,” he said, “and in the state of Florida, I was just beginning to fight myself as governor.”