Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida and a former congressman, officially announced his presidential bid on Wednesday.
Here’s where he stands on some key issues, especially as it relates to the escalating race for the GOP presidential nomination.
In April 2023, DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban into law, which provides exceptions in the cases of rape, incest or human trafficking (but requires documented proof). After former President Donald Trump said that a six-week ban might be too harsh, DeSantis responded that Trump won’t answer what kind of ban he supports.
“I’ve been proud as governor to stand for a culture of life, and I think all Republicans need to do that,” DeSantis said in an interview on Fox News after launching his presidential bid. “[The Dobbs Supreme Court decision] returned the issue to the elected representatives of the people. And so I think that there’s a role for both the federal [government] and the states.”
DeSantis says that overspending has been the primary driver of inflation, and has called for the federal government to spend less money. He’s also called to expand domestic energy production as a way to bring down inflation.
“Of course, the overspending is driving inflation,” DeSantis said in that same Fox News interview. “So you need to spend less money. You also need to expand domestic energy production energy costs contribute to inflation.”
When running for Congress in 2012, DeSantis embraced then-Rep. Paul Ryan’s efforts to restructure Medicare, but he said he wouldn’t support changing it for those 55 and older at the time. After winning election, he voted for failed Republican Study Committee budgets transitioning Medicare to a premium-support program and raising the retirement age for Medicare and Social Security to 70.
“I would not change Social Security and Medicare for people who are on the program or near retirement at age 55 and over, because I think there are settled expectations there,” DeSantis said in an 2012 interview. “But what I think we need to do for people in my generation, particularly, is start to restructure the program in a way that’s going to be financially sustainable — both Social Security and Medicare.”
This year, though, DeSantis has reversed course on restructuring entitlement programs like Social Security.
“We are not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans,” he told Fox News in March.
When in Congress, DeSantis co-sponsored the FairTax Act imposing a national sales tax of 23%, which would replace income, corporate and estate taxes.
“In Congress, the governor supported the concept of a Fair Tax, a plan to lower the overall tax burden on an individual by replacing all federal taxes — including income tax — with a lower tax,” a DeSantis spokesman explained.
DeSantis initially referred to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” in a statement he gave to then-Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests… becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said.
But in a later interview with Piers Morgan, DeSantis walked that back, saying that Russia’s invasion was “wrong” and calling Vladimir Putin “a war criminal.”