Ron DeSantis lamented that he didn’t encounter the same opposition from California residents during his visit Friday as he did when he was in the Golden State earlier this year.
The Florida governor spoke with hundreds of California Republicans, just steps from his rival’s home domain, Disneyland.
But after seeing a drop in poll numbers since his last visit to Southern California in March, the 2024 candidate was surprised not to see massive numbers of protesters demonstrating against his comments.
“If you stand up for what is right and you exercise leadership that is not free. People will come after you. The left will come after you, the media will come after you,” DeSantis said.
He then seemed to realize: “Actually, I’m a little disappointed, I didn’t see any protesters supporting me today. Where have the protesters gone? We got them six months ago when I was here. I’ve had them in other parts of California since I’ve been here.
Ron DeSantis joked that he was “disappointed” that he didn’t encounter any protesters during his stop in Southern California on Friday – as he was when he visited the Golden State in March.
Meanwhile, there were hundreds of pro- and anti-Trump protesters outside the Anaheim Marriott Convention Center during the California GOP fall convention on Friday.
DeSantis was speaking right across the street from Disneyland. He joked, “Great to be in Southern California.” I didn’t even know if I was allowed there – I’m kind of close to DisneyLand. I didn’t know if they would let me come there. It’s good’
Meanwhile, dozens — and sometimes hundreds — of pro- and anti-Trump protesters gathered around the convention center and the Anaheim Marriott Hotel throughout the morning and into the afternoon Friday.
DeSantis, who has been waging a long-running war with Walt Disney Co., was speaking across the street from Disneyland.
“It’s great to be in Southern California,” he said as he took the stage. “I didn’t even know if I was allowed there – I’m kind of close to DisneyLand. I didn’t know if they would let me come there. It’s good.’
Former President Donald Trump made remarks earlier Friday to a room of about 1,500 Republicans at the convention luncheon banquet. He then stopped at an ice cream parlor in Beverly Hills before a fundraiser.
DeSantis held a rally in Long Beach during the day before speaking at the California GOP fall convention dinner banquet.
Trump, however, was clearly the star of the day.
“I understand one of my residents was here earlier and said he ‘went Florida red,’” Desantis noted of Trump, who has his permanent residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
“I just wish if he ‘turned Florida red’ he wouldn’t have turned Georgia and Arizona blue!” said the 2024 hopeful, referring to Trump’s loss of some key states in 2020.
Protesters supporting and opposing Trump’s appearance Friday clashed Friday outside the Anaheim Marriott Convention Center.
Pro-Trump protesters hold signs as they gather outside the California Republican Party’s fall convention in Anaheim during the former president’s remarks.
Notably, DeSantis made his remarks literally across the street from Disneyland, owned by the Florida governor’s rival, Walt Disney Co.
DeSantis returned to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday for the second Republican primary debate. Trump skipped the event after also missing the first debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last month.
In March, DeSantis was at the Reagan Library for a stop on his book tour before announcing his presidential candidacy.
Upon his return to Simi Valley, California, the governor made clear that he hoped questions would be asked during the debate about Reagan’s legacy.
“In preparing for this debate, I started watching some of President Reagan’s speeches and some of his writings — just to get myself in a frame of mind,” DeSantis told the crowd Friday.
“I actually thought they might ask a question about Reagan’s legacy — they didn’t,” he said of the trio of moderators from Fox News, Fox Business and Univision.
“They were asking – I don’t know what they were asking,” he laughed. ‘But it is okay. I just roll with the punches – I’m here, I’ll deal with whatever they throw at me.
DeSantis consistently comes in second to Trump in the polls – but far behind.
His polls have declined in recent weeks. And some polls even show that the governor only comes in fifth place.