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EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., dove into numerous foreign policy matters involving the U.S., from heightening tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which has the Florida National Guard caught in the middle, to Big Tech and the Biden administration’s handling of China and the controversial Beijing Olympics.
During an interview with Fox News Digital in Tallahassee, Florida, on Monday, the governor said that it is a “mistake” that American athletes are competing in the 2020 Winter Olympic Games, underway in Beijing, China. The Biden administration and its international allies are enacting a diplomatic boycott of the games over the genocide of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But DeSantis said it does not go far enough to stand up to America’s “number-one geopolitical foe.”
“I’ve said previously that I would boycott [the Beijing Olympics]. I mean, I think it’s a mistake. I mean, China is our number-one geopolitical foe. If you look at what they’re doing, they’re amassing huge amounts of power. And it’s not just that they’re building up their military, they are, they command huge influence within the United States,” DeSantis told Fox News Digital.
DeSantis noted the role of NBC, the news outlet carrying the games in the U.S., saying it is “whitewashing” what he calls the “genocide Olympics.” NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremonies last week saw a historic low and was down 43% from previous Games.
“This is a genocide Olympics. And the thing is you see these, the broadcast on NBC, where they’re whitewashing this stuff. You look at these corporate sponsors that are signing up on that. You know, they will blow, these corporations in America, and they’ll blow a gasket, you know, for these small issues in the United States. But yet they’re willing to underwrite games of the country that’s committing genocide. I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on.”
Corporate sponsors of the Games, including Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble, have been silent on the ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs in China but extremely vocal about their opposition to Republican states’ election laws and other human rights issues in the U.S.
In addition to China, the U.S. is facing aggression from Russia. Tensions between Russia and America’s ally Ukraine have increased to the point of near-war as the U.S. has sent 1,700 troops to Poland and another 300 to Germany. Florida is uniquely positioned in this crisis due to the fact that there are about 150 Florida National Guard inside of Western Ukraine on a previously scheduled training rotation.
DeSantis slammed President Biden for keeping Floridians stationed in the middle of the Ukraine crisis on a federal deployment.
“That would have been Joe Biden’s doing, not ours. You know my view is I don’t want to see American troops in Ukraine. I think that we have a lot of problems here in the United States. We’ve given Ukraine a lot of support over the years under the Trump administration we provided huge amounts of lethal aid, and so I think that they’ve been equipped to defend themselves, but to put American troops in the midst of that is not something that I want to see, particularly with Floridians.”
The governor recently announced that he will be re-establishing the Florida State Guard, for which he has garnered pushback from state Democrats who are calling him a “wannabe dictator.” DeSantis responded that the reason he is planning to reinstate the State Guard is because Florida doesn’t have enough National Guardsmen, and the new guard would be free from the “whims of the federal government.”
“And so this will give us more people to be able to do things like respond if there’s disorder, like respond to disasters and all those other things. It also gives us the ability to have people who are not subject to federal requirements. So, for example, [the federal government] wouldn’t be able to mobilize and deploy people who are in the State Guard,” DeSantis told Fox News Digital. “They also wouldn’t be able to impose mandates on people in the State Guard. They are trying to do that with the federal guard. And so I think it will help us complete our mission and will also allow us to do in a way which is not subject to the whims of the federal government.”
DeSantis also dove into criticism of America’s Big Tech companies, who he says “bend the knee” to the CCP, along with Biden, who he says has worked to “empower Beijing.”
“A lot of these corporations, the Apples of the world, the Facebooks, they will not buck the Communist Party of China. I mean, they will bend the knee. Hollywood bends the knee to these people. Our financial institutions bend the knee. So they have an inordinate amount of influence over our domestic situation, which is much different than, say, the Soviet Union back during the Cold War. So they are a very formidable adversary. They do not have our best interests at heart.”
DeSantis praised former President Trump for being the first leader to call out the tight ties between American businesses and China.
“And I think President Trump was really the first one to really call that out. A lot of administrations have really helped to elevate and empower Beijing, including Biden. And I think the best policy for America is to understand that they’re an adversary, and we should want to weaken their grip over our economy and over our political system.”
The Florida governor went further in his criticism of Big Tech, saying that these companies are controlling so much political speech in the U.S. that they are trying to “impose an orthodoxy.” He pointed specifically to the censorship of online speech on COVID, as many online platforms have censored or blocked speech that is not in line with statements put out by White House chief medical adviser Dr. Antony Fauci.
“I think at the end of the day, you can’t have a situation in which a handful of companies control so much of the political speech in this country, and they are censoring, and they are and trying to impose an orthodoxy,” said DeSantis.
“If you put something out on COVID that Fauci disagrees with, they will censor you, even though Fauci has been wrong on a lot. If you dissent from the CDC, they will censor you well. When you’re acting as an arm of the government, then the First Amendment does apply.”
The governor also mentioned the ongoing controversy with GoFundMe, an online fundraising platform that came under fire recently for attempting to divert funds intended for Canadian truckers protesting the federal government’s COVID vaccine mandate. DeSantis has pledged to investigate the matter further.
“But I think Big Tech, I mean, it’s almost like they’re cutting off the nose to spite their face. They’re so ideological, they’re in this bubble, and they take these actions that alienate so many of their potential customers that they’re going to end up, I think, really hurting what they’re trying to accomplish.”