DeSantis Highlights Social-Conservative Policy Achievements, Priorities in EWTN News Interview

In the second installment of the interview, the presidential candidate also affirmed the right to life. The complete interview, conducted by EWTN News President and COO Montse Alvarado, is scheduled to air on EWTN Jan. 12.

Republican presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks with EWTN News on Jan. 8.
Republican presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks with EWTN News on Jan. 8. (photo: EWTN News)

In an interview with EWTN News, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis highlighted his record of social-conservative policy wins and agenda as a presidential candidate.

The leading Catholic candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential contest emphasized that there is “more to do” to defend religious freedom in the United States, shared his “strong stand” against transgender surgeries for minors, and discussed the “heartbeat bill” that he signed into law in Florida. 

“Why are you in office?” DeSantis reflected in the Jan. 8 interview with EWTN News President and COO Montse Alvarado; Part 2 of the interview aired Jan. 10 on EWTN News Nightly. “Are you in office to put your finger in the wind and try to contort yourself into a pretzel, or are you in office to be able to stand up for things that you believe in?”

In March of last year, for example, DeSantis said he signed into law legislation banning “transition” surgeries for minors.

“A 14-year-old would not be able to get a tattoo. A 14-year-old would not be able to sit at a bar and take a shot of whiskey, but yet somehow they could have their private parts taken off,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense. It’s been very, very harmful, and we’ve taken a strong stand.”

In 2022, DeSantis also championed parental rights in education by signing into law additional legislation that bars Florida public-school teachers from promoting sexual orientation and transgenderism to students in kindergarten through third grade. 

“But the elites definitely are all in on it,” he pointed out. “There’s a lot of people that make money off this, with the hormone therapy and all this other stuff, and it shouldn’t be about that.”

DeSantis also made headlines for championing Florida’s 2023 “heartbeat” pro-life law.

Affirms the Right to Life

“The Declaration of Independence says that we are endowed not by government but by God with certain inalienable rights,” DeSantis said. “And the beginning of that is the right to life itself.”

Prior to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Florida provided protection for unborn babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. DeSantis noted that this only helps about 4% or 5% of babies being aborted.

“The heartbeat bill that was done provides more robust protections and will end up saving a lot of lives,” he noted. “But I think what we’ve also done in Florida and what doesn’t get as much attention is we understand that parents are in a situation now where it is expensive to raise kids.”

“It factors into their calculation about whether they want to even try to have a family now,” DeSantis continued. “So we’ve done things like: All baby items in Florida are tax-free. So diapers, wipes, cribs, strollers, formula, all that — tax-free.”

DeSantis also said religious freedom in the United States needs a determined defender.

“On religious freedom, we are not where we need to be,” DeSantis said. “This country was founded on the idea that your right to the free exercise of religion is endowed by God and cannot be infringed by the government.” 

Citing cases like former Washington state high-school coach Joseph Kennedy, who ultimately won a U.S. Supreme Court case after being fired for praying on the field during a high-school game, DeSantis said religious freedom in the country remains “very much up for grabs.” 

DeSantis said: “What you have is elites trying to establish a religion of secular humanism, and they want that to govern society.” 

In a previous installment of the interview that aired Jan. 9 on EWTN News Nightly, DeSantis said his faith and family life are deeply interwoven. The complete interview, conducted by EWTN News President and COO Montse Alvarado, is scheduled to air Jan. 12 on EWTN News In Depth