Governor DeSantis speaks to conservative students at summit in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Thousands of conservative high school and college students are in downtown Tampa this weekend for the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit.

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis took the stage to a standing ovation and chants of “USA” as the final speaker on Friday night.

“If it were not for Florida, the lockdowners would have won,” DeSantis said to the crowd of more than 5,000 people. “Fauci would have won, Brandon would have won.”

The governor addressed his policies banning COVID-19 vaccine passports and mandates.

“No Floridian should have to choose between a job they need and shot they don’t want,” he said.

Some of the conservative students from across the country said they hope to see DeSantis’ name on the ballot in 2024.

“I’m hoping to hear about a presidential run from Ron DeSantis or even vice president,” said Erica Head, a college student from Michigan. “We love him. We wish we had him as our governor in Michigan.”

At Thursday’s debate between Democratic gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried, they attacked Gov. DeSantis for prioritizing political ambition over the people of Florida.

“This gov is more concerned about the White House than as I said before your house,” Crist said.

“If we vote for Charlie we’re gonna see Ron DeSantis run for president because he’ll get another term,” Fried said.

While he didn’t mention the Democrats hoping to defeat him in November, Gov. DeSantis made multiple references to the Commander-in-Chief.

“He did test positive for COVID and I want to on behalf of the state of Florida wish President Biden a speedy recovery from COVID,” Gov. DeSantis said. “I also want to wish the United States of America a speedy recovery from Joe Biden.”

The governor also did not touch on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The room erupted in cheers when other speakers like Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley brought that up.

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at the Turning Point USA convention on Saturday evening.

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