Ron DeSantis in Fourth GOP presidential primary debate

On Drugs: Shoot dead anyone crossing the border with fentanyl

Q: You have pledged to send the military to the southern border on day one of your administration with orders to shoot "stone cold dead anyone illegally entering with a backpack that you believe contains fentanyl." Critics have called this a "shoot first ask questions later" policy that would amount to extrajudicial killing. Is that legal?

DeSantis: The drug cartels are invading our country and they are killing our citizens by the tens of thousands every year. The elites in DC, they don't care that fentanyl is ravaging your community. They don't care that illegal aliens are overwhelming our community.

Q: And does that mean shooting first?

DeSantis: It means you're going to categorize them as foreign terrorist organizations just like we would anywhere. When I was in Iraq, Al-Qaeda wasn't wearing a uniform. You'd see anyone walking down the street, they all had man dresses on. You didn't know if someone had a bomb, an IED attached or not. And so, you had to make a judgment.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Education: Don't make truck drivers pay for brick-&-ivy gender studies

Another thing that's burdening young people are these student loans. Now, I don't support having a truck driver having to pay a student loan for someone that got a degree in gender studies. That is wrong, we should not have taxpayers do that. What I'm going to do though is I'm going to get to the root cause of the problem. These student loans are going to be backed by the universities because they need to have an incentive to produce gainful employment for people. They should not be indulging in ideological studies. They should be focusing on things that work, and we're going to take some of this money and we're going to move it to actual vocational training. In Florida, we doubled apprenticeships. We have more truck drivers, these are in- demand skills. Don't let anybody tell you that the only way you can be successful is through a four-year brick-and-ivy degree. That's one way you can be, it's not the only way, and we're going to fix that problem in the United States of America.
Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Families & Children: Sex change operations in teens is gender mutilation

Gov. Ron DeSantis: I am sick of Republicans who are not willing to stand up and fight back against what the left is doing to this country. You've got to be willing to stand strong, and beat these people. I'm the only one running for president that has beaten these people on issue after issue. I have delivered results. Other candidates like Nikki Haley, she caves anytime the left comes after her, anytime the media comes after her. I did a bill in Florida to stop the gender mutilation of minors; it's child abuse and it's wrong. She opposes that bill. If you're not willing to stand up for the kids, if you're not willing to stand up and say that it is wrong to mutilate these kids, then you're not going to fight for the people back home. I will fight for you and I will win for you.

Gov. Nikki Haley: I actually said his "Don't Say Gay" bill didn't go far enough because it only talked about gender until the third grade and I said it shouldn't be done at all that, that's for parents to talk about.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Families & Children: Disallow men from going into little girls' bathrooms

Ron DeSantis: I signed legislation in Florida banning the mutilation of minors because it is wrong. Nikki disagrees with me. She opposes the bill that we did to ban [transgender surgery on minors]. She said the law shouldn't get involved with it. Also in South Carolina, they had a bill to try to say that men shouldn't go into girls' bathrooms and she killed that bill and she bragged that she killed that bill. I don't think men should be going into little girls' bathrooms. I think it's wrong and I think we have every right to protect them from that.

Nikki Haley: When I was governor, I said boys go into boys' bathrooms, girls go into girls' bathrooms and if anyone else has an issue, they use a private bathroom. When Ron was running for governor, he said he didn't think bathroom bills were a good use of his time.

Ron DeSantis: I signed a bathroom bill in Florida, so that's obviously not true. I signed it, you didn't. You killed it. I signed it. I stood up for little girls.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Government Reform: Bring a reckoning & wreak havoc on this bureaucracy

Q: What about Donald Trump saying he'd only be a dictator "on day one"?

Ron DeSantis: I would just remind people that is not how he governed. He didn't even fire Dr. Fauci. He didn't clean up the swamp. He said he was going to drain it. He did not drain it. He said he was going to build the wall and have Mexico pay for it. We don't have the wall. He did say in 2016 he'd have the largest deportation program in history. He deported less than Barack Obama did when Barack Obama was president. Some of these policies he ran on in '16, I was cheering him on then, but he didn't deliver it. Here's what I can promise people. 100% of the things I promised as governor, I delivered on those promises. That's what I'll do for you as president. I will go in and wreak havoc on this bureaucracy. You will see people fired and we are going to bring a reckoning for how this government handled COVID-19 and the lockdown.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Government Reform: No Zuckerbucks & no ballot harvesting

Ron DeSantis: [In Florida,] we require voter ID universal, no Zuckerbucks, no mass mail balloting and no ballot harvesting. The result of that in both 2020 and 2022, we counted millions of votes on election night and everybody was happy. That is not happening throughout this country. But as the nominee, I am not going to fight with one hand tied behind my back. I'm going to have organizations in all the swing states. If they're harvesting, we are harvesting. If they're Zuckerbucks, we're Zuckerbucks.

Cato Institute "Zuckerbucks" explanation 9/12/22: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's foundation provided grants to local election offices around the country to aid in administrative tasks & voter communication--a program nicknamed Zuckerbucks.

Cato Institute "Ballot Harvesting" explanation 5/12/22: Ballot harvesting happens when one person gathers absentee/?mail ballots from many voters--bundling, you might say--for submission at a mail or drop box.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Health Care: Florida did not expand ObamaCare; need accountability

Q: For 15 years, Republicans have promised to repeal Obamacare, but haven't. You're now promising something better, but Florida has more uninsured people than almost any other state.

Ron DeSantis: We have millions of Americans who do not have access to affordable healthcare, and it's not just getting some type of card and Medicaid, because a lot of times they don't even get access to care. The other thing is we have millions of people that don't have access to good doctors and good hospitals. Florida did not expand Obamacare. I think the states that did that I think are struggling financially. So that, yes, we declined to do that and I don't think that that was the right policy to do, but we are going to go after the cost. You're paying too much for everything. We've actually addressed this in Florida in some ways, but you need price transparency. You need to hold the pharmaceuticals, big insurance, and big government accountable, and we're going to get that done.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Immigration: Europe committing suicide with mass migration

Q: Do you support President Trump's plan for ideological screening?

Nikk Haley: I don't think that you have a straight-up Muslim ban, you look at the countries that have terrorist activity that want to hurt Americans.

Ron DeSantis: It's not just terrorism--look what's happened in Europe. You have more anti-Semitism in Germany than at any time since Adolf Hitler. Why? Because they imported mass numbers of people who reject their culture. Europe is committing suicide with the mass migration and it's illegal and legal. Nikki Haley said the other day there should be no limits on legal immigration. There needs to be limits on immigration and we should not be importing people from cultures that are hostile. So for example, [some suggested] importing 300,000 people from the Gaza Strip. I said, "No, we're not taking anyone from Gaza because of the anti-Semitism and because they reject American culture, so we've got to get smart about this. We cannot let the United States be like Europe."

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On War & Peace: Iran is attacking U.S. as part of Israel-Hamas war

Q: Eight Americans have been held hostage in Gaza for 60 days now [along with 240 other hostages from Hamas' attack on Israel]; American troops and warships in the Mideast are under attack.

DeSantis: This administration is trying to hobble Israel from being able to defend itself. They have a right to eliminate Hamas and win a total and complete victory so that they never have to deal with this again. Hamas wants nothing less than a second Holocaust, they would wipe off every single Jew off the map. They would destroy the state of Israel if we could. Look, I served in Iraq back in the day. I'm the only one running for president that served in the military, I understand that part of the world. It's not the best part of the world. We do have troops there that Biden is leaving basically as sitting ducks and you have the Iranians that are attacking these troops and he's responding with basically pinpricks. If you harm an American service member, you're going to have hell to pay when I'm president.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On War & Peace: Deter China from invading Taiwan: #1 national security task

Q: If China invades Taiwan, would you send American troops, as President Biden's has said he would do?

Ron DeSantis: We will be able to deter that from happening. I think that's the important thing, we need a strategy of denial so that we're deterring [China's President] Xi's ambitions.

Q: What if it doesn't work?

DeSantis: It's going to work. Taiwan's an ally. We have longstanding American policy [known as "strategic ambiguity," where the US doesn't promise to send US troops to Taiwan, or not-- OTI], and we will follow that. But here's the thing, Taiwan is important because if China's able to break out of this first island chain, they're going to dominate commerce in the entire Indo-Pacific. They will use that to export authoritarianism all around the world, including here in the US. Deterring China's ambitions is the number one national security task that I will do as president and we will succeed. The 21st century needs to be an American century. We cannot let it be a Chinese century.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

On Welfare & Poverty: Inflation caused by borrowing by both parties

Q: Homeownership has always been part of the American dream, but it's increasingly out of reach for younger Americans. Should the federal government do something to make homes more affordable?

Ron DeSantis: The borrowing, printing and spending of money was both parties in Washington DC. That's just a fact. These Republicans in Washington have spent, it's driven your prices higher, and it's driven your interest rates to the point where [younger Americans] can't afford. I met a young fellow in Iowa, he had graduated college a couple years ago and he's like, "Governor, I don't have a chance. I'm gainfully employed." He's like, "I have no chance to afford a home and start a family," that is taking the American dream away from people. So, we're going to get the inflation down, we're going to get the interest rates down, we are going to reduce spending, and I will be willing to veto and I vetoed a lot as governor of Florida and we'll do that.

Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama Dec 6, 2023

The above quotations are from NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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Page last updated: Dec 12, 2023