PITTSBURGH (NBC News)— Gov. Ron DeSantis, in a campaign-style speech Thursday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania boasting his record and said his “fight” has only just begun.
According to NBC News, DeSantis spoke at the Allegheny County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner in the key battleground state taking aim at pandemic-related shutdowns, critical race theory and the mainstream press.
DeSantis is seen by some as a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, having bolstered his profile during the pandemic. The Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll in Florida earlier this year found DeSantis in second place behind Trump.
The governor launched his speech with a call to “open your states, open your schools [and] take off these mask mandates.” In Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has set the mask mandate to be lifted when 70 percent of adults are vaccinated, with all other mitigation measures to be lifted on Memorial Day.
DeSantis then promoted new voting measures, anti-riot legislation, and efforts to bar critical race theory from Florida curriculum.
“As we look forward to the fights ahead, we cannot, indeed we will not go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,” he said. “We are not going to do that.”
DeSantis also called on attendees to “stand your ground” and teased his future plans.
“Hold the line. Don’t back down,” he said. “And in the state of Florida, with me as governor, I have only begun to fight.”