- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis headlined the Sunshine Summit GOP state fundraiser in Hollywood, Florida.
- He pushed congressional Republicans to go after the Biden administration if they win in November.
- "I'm sick of them telling us what they're going to do," DeSantis said.
HOLLYWOOD, Florida — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the starring act for a major statewide fundraiser on Saturday, where he sent a message to Republicans back in America's capital: Get President Joe Biden.
"We need to see some action to hold Biden and his minions accountable," DeSantis said before a 1,500-person crowd packed into a banquet room at the Sunshine Summit, a fundraiser held by the Republican Party of Florida.
The governor went on a tirade against Biden's immigration policy. He described the administration's approach as "open border," referring to the record number of migrants that have arrived in the US during the last year.
DeSantis, who previously served in the US House, also criticized his own party, saying they were too much talk and not enough action.
"If they get majorities in the Congress, I'm sick of them talking," he said during the "Victory Dinner" event as dessert was being served. "I'm sick of them telling us what they're going to do. I'm sick of them going on cable and doing this, and prattling."
"In Florida we don't just talk, we do," he added.
Republicans are expected to win a majority in the House in November, which will give them control over which public hearings to hold. The Senate's fate is more uncertain.
DeSantis took the stage to a standing ovation in a ballroom at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Only a few media outlets, including Insider, were invited to cover the dinner in person.
—Kimberly Leonard (@leonardkl) July 24, 2022
Even though the banquet was a campaign event and the governor is up for reelection in Florida, he didn't once mention his Democratic challengers. They include Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida, who was governor of the state once before as a Republican. They'll be facing each other in the August 23 primary to vie against DeSantis.
The governor is expected to win reelection largely because of his national name recognition and because Florida Republicans have out-registered Democrats in the state by 220,000 people.
On Saturday, DeSantis revisited many of his favorite talking points in a speech that lasted nearly 30 minutes. But mainly, he aimed to cast himself as a foil to Biden, who has COVID-19.
"We should all extend our best wishes to president Joe Biden for a speedy recovery from his bout with COVID," he said. "And hopefully the United States will have a speedy recovery from its bout with Joe Biden."
Throughout the speech, the governor looked back on his time in office and pitted himself as a fighter against the media, "cancel culture," and "the woke mob" — but mostly as a fighter against Biden.
"You have to have the courage to stand in the way of the Brandon Administration," DeSantis said, using an anti-Biden nickname often invoked by TV personalities and voters on the right.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about DeSantis' speech. The Democratic National Committee pointed to its statement issued prior to the speech, which bashed DeSantis over his administration refusing to order COVID-19 vaccines for babies and toddlers.
DeSantis otherwise touted his battle against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, his high-profile fight against Disney over a school curriculum his critics called "Don't Say Gay," and how he reopened schools sooner than most states.
More than 77,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Florida, and the governor's actions have drawn the ire of Democrats.
But they have also endeared DeSantis to the right, with some polls even showing that he may overtake former President Donald Trump if he runs for president in 2024. Conservative commentator Dave Rubin introduced DeSantis before he came onstage and said he had been "acting as president for the last year and a half."
DeSantis didn't mention Trump in his speech, though the former president frequently takes credit for endorsing DeSantis during his 2018 race and helping him land the GOP nomination. On Saturday, Trump was across Florida, in Tampa, delivering his own speech to the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit. DeSantis also appeared at that event on Friday.