Everything in the 2023 legislative session is going as Gov. Ron DeSantis has planned, as the Republican-led legislature is solely pushing through the Governor’s agenda prior to his announcement that he will run for President in 2024.
As we stated before, this is DeSantis's world and lobbyists, lawmakers, media reporters, and state employees are just living in it.
But just as supporters of Gov.DeSantis’s soon-to-be-announced presidential campaign continue to promote his accomplishments of the past four years, more and more DeSantis-friendly supporters, who have to work with the Florida Legislature, and lawmakers themselves, are starting to expose what could be a chink in the Governor’s armor—his alleged lack of loyalty and selfish legislative agenda.
According to several Republican lawmakers, DeSantis’s push to get his entire agenda passed through the legislature has left the caucus “exhausted” and “frustrated,” echoing the growing sentiment of lobbyists that DeSantis’s specific agenda has allegedly left many issues on the table, not to be heard because they did not conform with his overall agenda.
All of the Republican lawmakers spoke to The Floridian on the basis of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Governor and/or his executive office, but State Senator Jason Pizzo (D) gave a very candid take on the growing concerns within Republican circles.
Sen. Pizzo, who is Minority Leader Pro Tempore and Leader Designate, said that in speaking to Republican leadership about the Governor’s agenda, their “frustration” was undeniable.
“DeSantis like most politicians, will listen to large donors and people whose influence and favor he needs,” said Sen. Pizzo. I called it out four years ago, when I said, ‘These bills are starting to smell more like red meat, these are bills that seem more akin or attendant to speeches given more in Iowa or New Hampshire than they do in Tallahassee.”
Sen. Pizzo pointed to the apparent and very public in-fighting that occurred during the 2022 legislative session between then-Sen. President Wilton Simpson and DeSantis.
“Wilton pushed back a lot, and then the governor f-cking emasculated him by like, vetoing all of his sh-t while standing there at a press conference,” said Pizzo before crediting current Senate President Kathleen Passidomo for inserting “a lot of rational pieces or components of bills that would normally not exist.”
DeSantis endorsed Simpson to be Florida's Agriculture Commissioner in the 2022 midterm election.
Pizzo then repeated what several of the “frustrated” Republican lawmakers we spoke to about how the legislative measures that have been put forth are actually those of DeSantis and not the legislative bodies.
“We are an autonomous body. Bills were created, drafted, and originated in the legislature, and I think discussions were had with the governor’s staff on how receptive he would be once he receives it. Now it’s the other way around. It’s completely flipped,” said Pizzo, adding that lawmakers “can neither voice, they can’t vocalize” their frustrations.
“At the end of the day, everyone is on the tit waiting for their appropriations to come through as well, which could suffer the veto bill, so I’ve lowered my expectations on all of that,” added Pizzo.
Lawmakers and lobbyists alike, are hoping that their bills get funded.
“It’s all about DeSantis. This place is run by his iron fist,” said Lobbyist X. " And Didn't we just elect him to govern for four more years?"
A very “colorful” Pizzo then pivoted his frustration for DeSantis to the state budget, where he claims he “successfully sued DeSantis on the budget, saying that the DeSantis Administration in the “midnight hour” created new policy on immigration.
“Where the f-ck are they? But where are they? You couldn’t find 49 people somewhere in Florida. And while yours and my property insurance is f-cking exploding, we have $12 million to go blow for private jets,” questioned Pizzo. We don’t fly military vets in private jets from the state of Florida coming back from deployment, but it continues.”
Pizzo is referring to the $12 million dollars allocated in the Florida budget to transport illegal immigrants, and the aforementioned 49 illegals who were flown from the Texas border to Martha’s Vineyard. When he filed the complaint, which was dismissed on technicalities, Florida had already spent $1.56 million on the flights.
DeSantis has defended his decision to transport those 49 illegal immigrants to Massachusetts.
"It's really frustrating. Millions of people since Biden's been president, illegally coming across the southern border. Did they freak out about that? No. You've had migrants die in the Rio Grande — you had 50 die in Texas in a trailer because they were being neglected. Was there a freakout about that? No, there wasn't," DeSantis said
The Trump Effect
While DeSantis polishes up his trademark black cowboy boots for his big presidential announcement, Trump supporters and surrogates, and Democrats, are quick to compare “America’s Governor” to former President Donald Trump.
“His best momentum was enjoyed by promulgating Trump’s most effective tactic—he made grown adult white men feel like the car they drive, the house they live in, their kids GPA, the school they didn’t get into, the job promotion they didn’t get, where in the batting order their kid is in Little League, all has to do with what, f-cking unauthorized aliens, transgendered athletes, get the f-ck out of here,” added the animated Pizzo. Trump was a master at it. He made people feel, who were miserable to begin with, that the reason they have or don’t have in their life is because of somebody else.”
But while Democrats like Pizzo are quick to align DeSantis to Trump for obvious political reasons, Trump surrogates want to remind Republican voters that Trump made DeSantis, and that DeSantis has followed the Trump playbook to the letter.
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Nikki Fried, made a simple demand of Florida Republican lawmakers. "Grow some f-cking balls," stated Fried
DeSantis hasn’t officially announced and there are already two primary fronts opened in the 2024 presidential primary cage match.
President Trump’s Super PAC is taking aim at DeSantis, while DeSantis’s “Never Back Down” PAC is hitting at Trump.
Secondly, Trump consultants and surrogates are engaged in a bitter war of words against DeSantis supporters and surrogates on Twitter.
DeSantis is expected to announce his presidential candidacy in early May, probably on Sunday May 3.