Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida announced his presidential bid Wednesday night in a live broadcast on Twitter that was delayed by technical difficulties and sometimes peppered with misleading claims.
Here's a fact check of some of his claims.
What to Say
“Biden also politicized the military and caused hiring to plummet.”
This is lacking in evidence. Military leaders recently warned that some branches of the armed services are struggling to meet recruiting targets, but the reasons they cite have nothing to do with President Biden. Namely, many young Americans fail to qualify.
A 2020 Pentagon study found that only 23 percent of 17 to 24 year olds were able to meet service standards, with many failing military entrance exams or mental fitness tests. That rate decreased by six percentage points from the previous study in 2017.
Army leaders discuss recruiting issues in congressional hearings in April, noted that this issue is ongoing.
“The difficult recruiting landscape we are facing didn't happen in a year, and it took us more than a year to turn this around,” said Christine Wormuth, secretary of the army.
Ms Wormuth also noted that a Pentagon survey of 2,400 people aged 16 to 28 had asked about barriers to enlisting. Respondents cited fear of injury and death as a top concern, while cultural and political concerns — “fear in the military or a Covid vaccine mandate, for example — were relatively low on the list of barriers to services,” he said.
What to Say
“In Florida, our crime rate is at its lowest point in 50 years. You look at the top 25 cities for crime in America, Florida is not in the top 25.
This is mostly true. The state's crime rate dropped to a 50-year low in 2021, but Mr. DeSantis overlooked a major caveat: Many law enforcement agencies in the state are switching to different reporting methodologies and the data is provisional and incomplete in many cases. The Tampa Bay Times reports.
Data from just 59 percent of Florida institutions covering 57.5 percent of the population was used for the state's total aggregate crime rate in 2021. It reflects a national trend: Across the country, nearly 40 percent of law enforcement agencies fail to report 2021 crime data because of the new methodology.
No Florida city tops the rankings for violent crime rates compiled by private companies And news outlets. It's worth noting, however, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and criminal justice experts have also long advised against comparing crime rates across cities, given the wide variation in population size and demographics.
What to Say
“No one is probably making Disney more money than me because they are open during Covid. And they closed in California and that lasted for months where literally, I opened all the amusement parks in Florida in 2020.
This is overkill. Disney World in Florida closed on March 15, 2020, along with every other Disney theme park around the world. It reopened in July, after being closed for four months. Disney resorts in Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo are also reopening in 2020 after being closed for months. Disneyland in California re-open April 30, 2021after a year-long closure, the longest among Disney resorts, after the state allowed theme parks to welcome back visitors.
Mr. DeSantis also downplayed his own actions during the coronavirus pandemic. He issued an executive order on April 1, 2020, directing all residents in Florida to “limit their movement and personal interactions outside the home to what is necessary”. While the order does not explicitly close theme parks, it does limit opening for essential services and activities, and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. Orders expire on May 1.
What to Say
“The whole book ban thing is a sham. Not a single book is banned in the state of Florida. You can buy or use any book you want.
This is misleading. There is no statewide book ban, but Mr. DeSantis greatly underestimated the extent to which school districts and individual libraries in parts of the state have removed books. In fact, Florida ranks second, behind Texas, as the state with the most bans at 357, according to PEN Americanon-profit organizations that support freedom of expression.
The law signed by Mr. DeSantis' restrictive discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race has led to teachers and administration removing books.
Books that have been removed from shelves in Florida includedea picture book about two male penguins raising chicksTony Morrison”Bluest Eyes” and Margaret Atwood's “The Handmaid's Story.”