Former All-American swimmer Riley Gaines openly endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
The outspoken advocate for protecting women’s rights in sports spoke at a DeSantis rally in Greenville, South Carolina, earlier tonight.
Speaking before DeSantis took the podium at the rally, she said, “It’s imperative for the good of Americans that we have an administration at the helm of this country that knows how to do the right thing.”
Gaines, who has become a strong advocate for protecting women’s sport, said newsmax about his decision to back DeSantis earlier this week.
She said: ‘It’s the right thing for me. It’s the right thing for women. It’s the right thing for Americans.
Speaking before the presidential hopeful took the stage, Gaines said it was “imperative” that America was led by an administration “that knows how to do the right thing”.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, pictured here at the Greenville Convention Center in South Carolina
“His leadership has been crucial in rooting out the radical ideology that really drives this madness and gives visibility to these cultural issues.
“He really took on this political establishment, the woke corporations, the media, and he won. And we know that from his success in Florida alone.
“I have the strong morals to know that what I’m doing in endorsing Governor DeSantis is the right thing.
Gaines became a leading voice against the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s sports after finishing fifth against controversial trans swimmer Lia Thomas at last year’s NCAA Championship.
Before her appearance on stage in front of DeSantis, Gaines was most closely associated with former President Donald Trump.
She appeared with President Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, and was invited by the President to discuss his intentions to ban transgender women from women’s sports.
Gaines had faced transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA Championships in March 2022,
She said the racing experience of Thomas, who raced in men’s competition until 2019, “felt like I was going into the race with my hands tied behind my back.”
Gaines, pictured here, faced transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA Championships in March 2022
Lia Thomas, pictured here, at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships last March
Before her appearance on stage in front of DeSantis, Gaines was more closely associated with former President Donald Trump, the two are pictured here in Dallas, Texas in August 2022
Since then, she has become an outspoken activist against allowing trans women to compete with biological women.
More recently, she called out two transgender runners who had qualified for the state finals in California but didn’t show up.
Gaines joked, “Did they realize they clearly had an unfair advantage?” referencing Athena Ryan, who transitioned from male to female.
Ryan’s performance in Dublin, California saw her advance to the state final at the expense of contender Adeline Johnson, who finished fourth and was later seen giving the thumbs up during the presentation from the podium.
A second trans athlete, Lorelei Barrett, also qualified for the 1600m national final.
Ryan and Barrett declined to participate in the preliminary round on Friday.
Gaines tweeted: “The two boys (Athena Ryan and Lorelei Barrett) who qualified for the California High School Women’s Track and Field Championships did not make the preliminaries today.
“Did they realize they clearly had an unfair advantage? Or is it too optimistic?
Gaines has also previously slammed her rival Lia Thomas after she called on President Biden to let transgender student-athletes compete unhindered against their gender of choice.
Gaines was upset after Thomas appeared in a video criticizing Biden’s proposal to amend the current Title IX civil rights law, which prohibits gender discrimination in schools.
Since graduating, Gaines has become a vocal advocate for protecting women’s sports from the infiltration and domination of transgender athletes.
She said trans athletes should be allowed to compete in school competitions without exception.
Biden’s planned change prohibits schools from imposing coverage banks on trans athletes in kindergarten through eighth grade.
But it gives high schools the power to ban trans athletes from competing if they feel there are clear equity issues, which are much more likely to arise with trans girls who have gone through male puberty.
Gaines tweeted, “This take is selfish and shows complete disregard for women. The Biden administration is actively and aggressively working to pass laws that erase decent and fair treatment for women in sport.