DeSantis tells CPAC to 'put on full armor of God,' says 'shield of faith' will protect them from the Left

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses the crowd at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Feb. 24, 2022.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses the crowd at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Feb. 24, 2022. | Screenshot: YouTube/News 19 WLTX

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told one of the largest national annual gatherings of conservative activists this week to put on a “full armor of God” as he vowed to lead the charge to make 2022 “the year that America fought back” against what he called the “woke” Left. 

Considered a contender for a potential 2024 Republican presidential run, Desantis spoke at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday in Orlando, arguing that America should be concerned about the left’s embrace of “wokeism” and attempts to “marginalize” conservative views from the mainstream culture. 

DeSantis also took shots at the Joe Biden presidency, further raising speculation that he plans to launch a bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

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“All told, he’s had the worst first year of any president since the 1800s,” DeSantis asserted. 

He criticized the agenda of congressional Democrats, saying their agenda would have become a reality “if they had just elected a couple more U.S. Senators.”

Currently, the U.S. Senate is a 50-50 split between the two parties, making it difficult for progressives to enact their preferred policy proposals even though they have a slight majority since Vice President Kamala Harris casts the tie-breaking vote. 

“They were going to pack the U.S. Supreme Court. They were going to make D.C. a state so they would have two radical, left-wing Democrat senators for life,” he said. “They were going to abolish the electoral college so California could … elect the president, and they wanted to federalize fraudulent ballot practices.”

DeSantis argued that Democrats’ congressional ambitions attempt to “marginalize the conservative half of the country” so they would become “powerless” to fight back against their “ideological aims.”

“The woke is the new religion of the Left, and this is what they have in mind,” he said. “That’s why they want CRT [critical race theory] because they want to divide the country. That’s why they remove statues of Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, take George Washington’s name off schools. Because they want to erase that history.”

“They want to delegitimize our founding institutions and they want to replace that with their left-wing ideology as the foundational principles of our modern-day society,” he continued.

He contended that many American institutions — the media, academia and “Big Tech” — have bought into the tenets of “wokeism.”

The governor urged the crowd to help make “2022 the year that America fought back,” vowing to “lead the charge here in Florida.”

He maintained that such an effort would require people to “put on that full armor of God, to stand firm against the left’s schemes.” He predicted: “you’ll be met with flaming arrows, but the shield of faith will stop them.”

DeSantis remarked, “there is no substitute for courage.” 

He praised those who have the “courage” to stand up against “cancel culture,” “corporate media narratives,” “Big Tech” and the Biden administration. 

DeSantis also declared victory over “Faucism,” touting Florida's approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which has received pushback from liberals. 

With relatively lax COVID-19 mitigation policies, DeSantis said the state had attracted a multitude of new residents during the coronavirus and became a top vacation destination for those seeking refuge from restrictive coronavirus lockdowns and politicians who supported such policies.

He attributed Florida's popularity to the fact that his administration “refused to let this state descend into some type of Faucian dystopia where people’s freedoms are curtailed and their livelihoods are destroyed.”

“We protected people’s rights. We protected people’s jobs. We protected small businesses, and we made sure that every kid in the state of Florida had an opportunity to go to school in person, five days a week,” he proclaimed.

“In Florida, we reject the biomedical security state, which erodes liberty, harms livelihoods and divides our society. And we not only reject it if it’s government, we have done things like ban vaccine passports and mandates because it’s unacceptable to simply subcontract out … Faucism to big companies.”

DeSantis repeatedly mentioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who became the public face of the U.S. government’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and advocated for measures such as mask mandates, lockdowns and in-person worship restrictions to stop the spread of the disease.

Florida resisted the calls to implement such measures throughout most of the pandemic, leading DeSantis to declare that “Florida has defeated Faucism.”

“Freedom has prevailed in the Sunshine State,” he said, as the crowd erupted into applause.

“My duty is to stand up and protect the freedoms and the jobs of the people I represent and if that puts me in political jeopardy, then so be it. I will stand with them. I’m not going to try to protect my own hide.”

DeSantis’ speech touched on other contentious debates in American politics, including whether trans-identified biological males should be able to compete in female athletic competitions because they identify as female.

“We in Florida were one of the first states to stand up and protect women’s athletics,” he said. “We’re not going to let our young girls and our women athletes have opportunities denied for them because of ideology and political correctness.”

Speaking on another controversial topic he and the Florida legislature have addressed, DeSantis told the crowd about how the state banned the teaching of critical race theory in public classrooms. At the time the bill was passed last June, DeSantis said it would prevent the teaching of curricula that could “distort historical events.” 

“Because we will not spend taxpayer money to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other, we have banned [critical race theory] in K-12 education,” DeSantis told CPAC. 

“Instead, we have the most robust civics education anywhere in the country. We’re going to have citizenship exams for graduating seniors, and we’re giving teachers the opportunity to go through a civics boot camp and get a $3,000 bonus.”

CPAC concludes with a straw poll, where the attendees indicate which hypothetical Republican presidential candidate they support.

Former President Donald Trump won last year’s straw poll with 55% of the vote, while DeSantis came in second with 21%. If Trump did not run, DeSantis would become the frontrunner, with 43% of respondents expressing support for the Florida governor. The second-place finisher in the straw poll, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, received 11% support.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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