Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave every indication on Sunday in Kansas that he plans to capitalize on the new wave of attention that has resulted from his sending migrants to Massachusetts last week.
“This is a crisis.” It is now receiving a little more attention, DeSantis remarked, garnering a standing ovation as he discussed the southern border and nodded to the headlines he created by flying 50 migrants from the border to Martha’s Vineyard.
The welcome DeSantis got in Kansas reinforced the idea that last week’s flight accomplished more than just raising awareness about the border problem or diverting migrants who would have ended up in Florida (though none said that was their destination). It also catapulted the Republican leader up for reelection this autumn into the national limelight as he considers a presidential bid in 2024.
The event in Kansas was the sixth stop on DeSantis’ nationwide tour to support a new generation of conservative candidates and test his political brand, organized by the conservative nonprofit Turning Point Action.
DeSantis’ road tour echoes former President Donald Trump’s state-by-state rallies in crucial states ahead of the midterm elections and his projected run for the White House again. It is a prologue to a possible primary contest between the GOP’s two greatest stars. On Saturday, Trump conducted a rally for Republican Senate contender J.D. Vance in Youngstown, Ohio, where DeSantis wowed a huge crowd last month. DeSantis is slated to drive from Olathe, Kansas, to Green Bay to campaign for Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial contender Tim Michels, just 90 minutes north of where Trump did the same in August.
DeSantis’ stance on immigration has rallied the GOP base and earned plaudits from fellow Republicans, some of whom anticipate it will pay dividends politically for DeSantis.
Earlier in the evening, conservative radio commentator Pete Mundo dubbed the planes booked by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as one of the most brilliant political operations he has ever seen in his lifetime and recommended sending protestors outside the event to Martha’s Vineyard. In his remarks, Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall claimed he asked DeSantis backstage how he could obtain a ticket to drive one of those buses from the border to the Delaware beach.
Local leaders in the places where the refugees landed unannounced, as well as Democrats and the White House, slammed DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s conduct in sending migrants to sanctuary cities. Republican governors, according to President Joe Biden, are playing politics with human people.
However, in the days after migrants landed on Martha’s Vineyard, transforming the rich vacation spot into a transit hub for asylum seekers, DeSantis dug down on his decision to engage Florida. He pledged to spend “every cent” of the $12 million authorized by the Legislature to transport additional migrants from the border, even though the state law states that the money is supposed to relocate individuals from within his state.
DeSantis told the Kansas audience that his decision exposed the hollowness of sanctuary communities that tout themselves as hospitable to outsiders. According to DeSantis, the 50 migrants were essentially given a lottery ticket to travel to the wealthiest sanctuary jurisdiction in the country. The latter added that the island had “job postings” and hotels where migrants could stay.
You’re talking about a group of 50 people. Did they get them a job? Did they get them up and running? No, DeSantis stated of Martha’s Vineyard inhabitants. They brought in the National Guard, and those folks were removed off the island the next day.
After landing in Massachusetts, the refugees were transported by boat to Cape Cod to obtain additional care. Despite receiving no advance notice of the refugees’ arrival, the area’s inhabitants promptly organized to provide food and shelter.
DeSantis added that we can see now that it’s all self-congratulatory virtue signaling. Republican candidates in deep-red Kansas reacted positively to DeSantis’ recent moves and many others.
“I’m all for it,” said Derek Schmidt, the Republican state attorney general running for governor in Olathe who DeSantis was campaigning for.
Schmidt is running against incumbent Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, a political outlier who hopes to win in a state where Trump won all but a few counties just two years ago. Schmidt’s chances are hampered by state Sen. Dennis Pyle, a former Republican running as a conservative Independent.
Despite the closeness of the campaign, it has mostly gone under the national radar compared to other heavily followed gubernatorial and US Senate races. Kansas made news last month when voters decisively rejected a ballot initiative that would have authorized politicians to outlaw abortion in the state, fueling Democratic enthusiasm for campaigning on the topic in November throughout the country.
DeSantis’ visit to Kansas demonstrated his rising clout among the Republican Party. Schmidt drew a huge audience and made it plain that if elected, he would model his governorship after DeSantis’. Schmidt added he wants a future for our beautiful Kansas state that looks much more like Ron DeSantis’s future in Florida than Joe Biden and Laura Kelly’s vision for our country.
Schmidt emphasized DeSantis’ initiatives, many of which were fashioned after the difficult social struggles that Floridians have faced in the last two years. He pledged Kansas would have a bill of rights for parents. He would prevent sexual orientation and gender identity training in the classroom and that transgender women and girls would be barred from participation in female scholastic athletics – all of which DeSantis has already done.
According to DeSantis, Kansas has a legislature that will generate a lot of fantastic legislation. DeSantis added that all you need is a governor who will sign the law. And you can make that happen.
Before the scheduled demonstration in Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers chastised Michels and DeSantis for scheduling a rally within a few miles from Lambeau Field, right before the Green Bay Packers’ home opener versus the Chicago Bears.
Wisconsinites don’t want an out-of-touch, out-of-state extremist destroying their Sunday, and they certainly don’t want Ron DeSantis here. Tim Michels continues to demonstrate to the Wisconsin people that he is unfit for our state. Having an event with one of the country’s most divisive leaders immediately before a Packers game is another red signal, according to Evers.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Kansas promised the audience that the event would not coincide with a Kansas City Chiefs game. On Thursday night, the city’s beloved professional football team played. Organizers indicated they wanted to do it on a Sunday afternoon, and he replied, ‘the Kansas City Chiefs better not be playing,'” DeSantis quipped.