Ron DeSantis lamented that he wasn’t met with the same opposition from California residents during his visit Friday as he was when he was in the Golden State earlier this year.
The Florida governor spoke with a room of hundreds of California Republicans, just steps away from his rival’s home domain of Disneyland.
But after seeing a polling dip since his last visit to southern California in March, the 2024 contender was surprised not to see mass amounts of protesters demonstrating against his remarks.
‘If you’re standing up for what’s right, and you’re exercising leadership that is not cost free. People will come after you. The left will come after you, the media will come after you,’ DeSantis said.
He then seemed to come to a realization: ‘I’m actually a little disappointed, I didn’t see any protesters out for me today. Where did the protesters go? We had them six months ago when I was here. I had them in other parts of California since I’ve been here.’
Ron DeSantis joked he was ‘disappointed’ that he wasn’t met with protesters during his stop in Southern California on Friday – like he was during his visit to the Golden State in March
Meanwhile, there were hundreds of pro- and anti-Trump protesters outside the Anaheim Marriott Convention Center during the California GOP’s Fall Convention on Friday
DeSantis was speaking right across the street from Disneyland. He joked: ‘Great to be in Southern California. I didn’t know if I was even allowed – I’m a little close to DisneyLand. I didn’t know if they’d let me come to it. It’s OK’
Meanwhile, there were dozens – and at some points, potentially hundreds – of pro- and anti-Trump protesters gathered around the Marriott Anaheim convention center and hotel all morning and into the afternoon on Friday.
DeSantis, who has been in a long-waged war with Walt Disney Co., was speaking right across the street from Disneyland.
‘Great to be in Southern California,’ he said when walking out on stage. ‘I didn’t know if I was even allowed – I’m a little close to DisneyLand. I didn’t know if they’d let me come to it. It’s OK.’
Former President Donald Trump made remarks earlier on Friday to a room of about 1,500 Republicans at the convention’s lunch banquet. He then stopped at an ice cream shop in Beverly Hills before a fundraiser.
DeSantis had a rally in Long Beach during the day before speaking at the dinner banquet for the California GOP’s fall convention.
Trump, however, was the clear star of the day.
‘I understand that one of my residents was here earlier saying that he ‘turned Florida red,’ Desantis noted of Trump, who has his permanent residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
‘I just wish if he was the one that turned Florida red, that he wouldn’t have turned Georgia and Arizona blue because that’s not been good for us at all,’ the 2024 hopeful said, in reference to Trump losing some key swing states in 2020.
Protesters supporting and opposing Trump’s appearance there on Friday clashed outside the Anaheim Marriott Convention Center on Friday
Pro-Trump protesters hold signs as they gather outside the California Republican Party’s Fall Convention in Anaheim during the former president’s remarks
Notably, DeSantis made his remarks literally across the street from Disneyland, owned by the Florida governor’s rival Walt Disney Co.
DeSantis returned to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday for the second Republican primary debate. Trump skipped the event after also missing the first debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last month.
In March, DeSantis was at the Reagan Library for a stop on his book tour before announcing his presidential bid.
As he returned to Simi Valley, California, the governor made it clear he was hoping for some questions at the debate related to Reagan’s legacy.
‘In getting ready for this debate, I started looking at some of President Reagan’s speeches and some of his writings – just to kind of get myself in the frame of mind,’ DeSantis said to the crowd on Friday.
‘I actually thought they may ask a question about Reagan’s legacy – they didn’t,’ he said of the trio of moderators from Fox News, Fox Business and Univision.
‘They were asking – I don’t know what they were asking,’ he laughed. ‘But that’s OK. I just roll with the punches – I’m there, I’ll handle whatever they throw at me.’
DeSantis consistently polls in second place behind Trump – but a far second place.
His polling has slipped in recent weeks. And some surveys even show the governor coming in as low as fifth place.