Governor DeSantis Visits California, Sparks Debate on ‘American Exodus’ and ‘Woke-Mind Virus’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently visited California to speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s Air Force One Pavilion, without mentioning the state’s Governor Gavin Newsom by name. “I know you’ve got a lot of problems out here, but your governor is very concerned about what we are doing in Florida … so I figured I had to come by,” DeSantis said.[0]

The event was a sellout with over 1,000 people in attendance, and drew considerable applause. Newsom responded with a statement sarcastically welcoming DeSantis to the “real freedom state.”[1] He then added, “Just look at the data — California residents are safer, healthier and more prosperous than those unfortunate enough to have you as their governor … Oh, by the way, you’re going to get smoked by Trump.”[1]

DeSantis spoke of the “great American exodus” from states with leftist ideologies and poor results, while Florida’s population has boomed.[2] Although he has not formally announced a presidential bid, a recent UC Berkeley/LA Times poll showed him leading the former President Donald Trump by eight points in California’s primary next year.[1] This caused protesters to rally outside the Reagan library to protest his visit.[3]

DeSantis also released his memoir, “The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for American Revival,” on Tuesday.[4] In it, he rails against the “legacy media” and calls Democrats as being infected with the “woke-mind virus.[0]” He also took aim at the Walt Disney Co., which opposes a Florida law that restricts classroom instruction of gender and sexual orientation.[5]

DeSantis is a native Floridian with blue collar roots, and his mother, Karen, worked as a nurse.[6] Ronald Daniel DeSantis, father of the speaker, was responsible for the installation of Nielsen TV rating boxes.[6] He and his wife have three children: two daughters, Madison and Mamie, and a son, Mason.[6] He told Insider, “We never would have thought that how many years later we would be tussling with Disney in a political office.[6] But life can be unpredictable.[7]

0. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives speech in California 1 year out from state GOP primary” Axios, 6 Mar. 2023,

1. “Ron DeSantis visits SoCal 1 year away from Super Tuesday” KABC-TV, 6 Mar. 2023,

2. “In Calif. speech that draws protests, DeSantis stokes fight over pandemic” The Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2023,

3. “Ron DeSantis swipes at Disney, Trump, Newsom during California visit” SFGATE, 6 Mar. 2023,

4. “DeSantis slams China’s COVID-19 ‘cover-up’ in new book, says US response to CCP a ‘major failure’” Fox News, 27 Feb. 2023,

5. “Florida Gov. DeSantis Primed for Fight with ‘Woke’ Minds – and Trump – in Trip to L.A., Orange County” Times of San Diego, 6 Mar. 2023,

6. “Who is Gov. Ron DeSantis? Floridian, 2024 presidential candidate?” Tallahassee Democrat, 28 Feb. 2023,

7. “Ron DeSantis 2024: Meet the Florida governor’s wife and kids” Business Insider, 1 Mar. 2023,

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