ORLANDO, Fla. — Calling Florida the "freest state in America," Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday spoke about the Sunshine State's lack of COVID-19 restrictions at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.
"We protected people's rights. We protected people's jobs. We protected small businesses. And we made sure that every kid in the state of Florida had an opportunity to go to school in-person, five days a week," DeSantis said.
WATCH GOVERNOR'S COMMENTS:
DeSantis told a large crowd at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort that Florida set a national example by banning vaccine passports and mandates.
During his 20-minute address, the governor criticized President Joe Biden over his "reckless fiscal policies" and immigration strategies.
"We've sent people to the Texas border and are suing Biden over his catch-and-release policy because he's not following the Constitution by letting our borders be overrun," DeSantis said.
DeSantis also touted what he calls the "strongest" anti-riot legislation in the country, a measure passed last year that increases penalties for violent demonstrators in Florida.
"If you riot in the state of Florida, if you loot, if you are engaged in mob violence, this is not gonna be like Portland where they arrest you, take your mugshot, slap you on the wrist and put you right back on the street," DeSantis said. "In Florida, you're not getting a slap on the wrist. You're getting the inside of a jail cell."
The CPAC, billed as the "largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world," is being held from Feb. 24 to 27.