Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his presidential bid Wednesday night in a live broadcast on Twitter that was delayed by technical difficulties and peppered with occasionally misleading claims.
Here’s a fact check on some of his claims.
what was said
“Biden also politicized the military and caused recruitment to plummet.”
This lacks evidence. Military leaders recently warned that various branches of the military are struggling to meet recruiting targets, but the reasons they cited have little to do with President Biden. That is, many younger Americans simply don’t qualify.
A 2020 Pentagon study found that only 23 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds can meet service standards, with many failing military entrance exams or mental and fitness tests. That rate decreased by six percentage points from the previous study in 2017.
Army leaders addressed recruitment issues in a congressional hearing in April, noting that the problem has been ongoing.
“The difficult recruiting landscape we face didn’t happen in a year, and it will take us more than a year to change it,” said Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army.
Ms. Wormuth also noted that a Pentagon survey of 2,400 people ages 16 to 28 had asked about obstacles to enlisting. Respondents cited fear of injury and death as the top concern, while cultural and political issues, “waking up in the military or the Covid vaccine mandate, for example, were relatively low on the list of barriers to the service,” he said.
what was said
“In Florida, our crime rate is at its lowest level in 50 years. If you look at the top 25 crime cities in America, Florida is not in the top 25.”
This is largely true. The state’s crime rate fell to a 50-year low in 2021, but Mr. DeSantis leaves out a big caveat: Many law enforcement agencies in the state have switched to a different reporting methodology and the data is provisional and incomplete. in many cases. The Tampa Bay Times reported.
Data from just 59 percent of Florida agencies covering 57.5 percent of the population was used for the state’s total aggregate crime rate in 2021. That reflects a national trend: Across the country, nearly 40 percent of law enforcement agencies failed to report 2021 crime data due to the new methodology.
No Florida city ranked near the top in the violent crime rate compiled by private companies and news points of sale. But it’s worth noting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and criminal justice experts have also long advised against comparing crime rates between cities, given the wide variation in population size and demographics.
what was said
“Probably nobody made Disney more money than me because they were open during Covid. And they closed in California and that went on for many, many months where I literally opened every theme park in Florida in 2020.”
This is exaggerated. Disney World in Florida closed on March 15, 2020, along with all other Disney theme parks around the world. It reopened in July, after being closed for four months. Disney resorts in Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo also reopened in 2020 after being closed for months. disneyland in california reopened on April 30, 2021after a year-long closure, the longest among Disney resorts, once the state allowed theme parks to welcome back visitors.
Mr. DeSantis is also downplaying his own actions during the coronavirus pandemic. He issued an executive order on April 1, 2020, ordering all Florida residents to “limit your movements and personal interactions outside your home to only those that are necessary.” While the order did not explicitly close theme parks, it limited openings to essential services and activities and prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people. The order expired on May 1.
what was said
“The whole book ban thing is a hoax. There has not been a single book banned in the state of Florida. You can go buy or use the book you want.”
This is misleading. There hasn’t been a statewide ban on a book, but Mr. DeSantis is vastly downplaying the extent to which individual school districts and libraries in parts of the state have removed books. In fact, Florida ranks second, behind Texas, as the state with the most bans with 357, according to PEN Americaa non-profit organization that supports free expression.
Legislation signed by Mr. DeSantis limiting discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race has led teachers and administrations to recall books. Mr. DeSantis’ own press office has said that “school districts are required to report the number of books removed from schools under legislation passed in 2022.” The press office reported that 175 books were withdrawn across the state.
Some of those books include a picture book about two male penguins raising a chickby Toni MorrisonThe bluest eye and Margaret Atwood “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
what was said
“Actually, the one this week was Miami-Dade County took a book that was about Biden inauguration poems, I think, and they moved it from the elementary school library to the middle school library. ”.
This requires context. The Bob Graham Education Center, which teaches students from pre-K to eighth grade in Miami-Dade County, moved Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb” from the elementary school section of the school’s media center. to the middle school section.
Mr. DeSantis argued that this did not constitute a ban, as the book was not removed entirely. However, access has been limited.
A spokeswoman for the school district said that elementary students who want to read the poem, or any other books deemed appropriate only for older students, will need to show they can read at a middle school level. Otherwise, the book will not be available to elementary students.
According to the American Library Association, restrictions on books and resources “based solely on the chronological age” of patrons violate your library’s statement of rights. Libraries “should not resort to age restrictions in an effort to avoid actual or anticipated objections,” the association said.
what was said
“I would reverse what Biden is doing. You have to close the border. You shouldn’t consider these asylum claims for people who cross illegally.”
This is misleading. Presidents cannot simply stop processing all asylum claims based on whether migrants cross the border illegally, as previous administrations have learned. Furthermore, the Biden administration has actually imposed new restrictions on asylum that essentially align with what DeSantis suggested: As of May 11, migrants who enter the United States illegally are generally presumed ineligible for asylumunless they can prove an exception.
But like his predecessor’s attempts, Biden’s efforts to limit asylum for illegal border crossers may face legal and procedural hurdles.
Before the Trump administration, the United States could not legally turn away immigrants seeking asylum, even if they crossed the border illegally, without processing their claims. In 2018, the Trump administration sought to reform asylum law, announcing new rules that effectively barred migrants who crossed illegally from seeking asylum. Almost immediately, the Supreme Court barred the policy from going into effect, and an appeals court eventually ruled it illegal.
Another Trump administration rule, announced in 2019, denied asylum to migrants if they had passed through another country and did not apply there. An appeals court struck down that rule in 2020.
Starting in 2020, the Trump administration also used Title 42, a public health law that allows the government to quickly remove people who crossed the border illegally. The Biden administration continued with the policy until May 11, when the designation of a public health crisis ended and with it the use of Title 42.
what was said
“If I am president, we are not making a central bank digital currency. I think that would be a huge, huge tax on people’s financial freedoms and financial privacy. By the way, what would be the logical result of this? If the central authority oversees this, of course they will start imposing ESG criteria.”
This lacks evidence. A central bank digital currency would effectively be the digital version of a dollar bill. The Federal Reserve has begun to investigate its use, but has said that it has not decided to issue said currency and it would only do so with the support of Congress. Mr. DeSantis is speculating, without factual basis, that the government would use digital currency to control or limit consumer spending to align with environmental and social goals like curbing fossil fuel consumption or tightening gun control.
In a fact sheet, the Federal Reserve noted that a digital currency would not replace current forms of money and would protect consumer privacy. And various banking experts told PolitiFact that current laws prohibit the surveillance and spending controls that Mr. DeSantis warned about.