DeSantis to launch new policy proposals next week

(WASHINGTON) — GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is set to start rolling out policy proposals, pivoting from touting his record as Florida’s governor to a more forward-looking vision taking aim at President Joe Biden.

DeSantis’ campaign told ABC News that it will introduce its new policies during targeted events, interviews and more throughout the summer and that the campaign will begin in full force next week. The effort, which has not been previously reported, will include plans that will be centered around improving the economy, boosting border security, tackling crime and eliminating the so-called deep state.

“Ron DeSantis is the fighter Americans are looking for with the solutions needed to tackle the most pressing issues, like fixing the economy, securing the border, and making our communities safer. The governor is looking forward to spending the summer relentlessly prosecuting the case against Joe Biden — the worst president in American history — and offering specifics on how he will right the ship to usher in our Great American Comeback,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo said in an emailed statement.

The policies are intended to pose a contrast to Biden, who Republicans have framed as responsible for a sluggish economy and rising crime at the border and elsewhere. The GOP has also accused the White House of weaponizing the federal government to target political opponents and protect friends, mainly after the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump, while the Biden administration maintains all federal probes are independently conducted.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has refuted allegations of politicization at the Justice Department, insisting that the indictment against Trump was solely the result of an investigation by special counsel Jack Smith. And after Hunter Biden, the president’s son, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges over failure to pay some of his taxes, Garland insisted the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney who reached the plea deal with him had “full authority to decide the matter as he decided was appropriate” — in contrast to Republicans who dubbed the agreement a “sweetheart deal.”

David Weiss, the U.S. prosecutor in the Hunter Biden case, also said in a June 7 letter to House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, that “I have been granted ultimate authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges and for making decisions necessary to preserve the integrity of the prosecution.”

Biden has leaned into his record in his reelection bid, and he has made providing economic relief to Americans a focus of early campaign ads, citing labor union endorsements as evidence of his commitment to championing working people. The White House also celebrated a Department of Homeland Security finding earlier this month that unlawful entries along the southern border have decreased 70% from their record highs in May.

DeSantis already ventured on a book tour before his presidential campaign launch and has been knocking Biden on many of the topics he’s set to release policies on, though the new effort appears set to add more specificity to what he’d do from the White House beyond the “Florida blueprint” he’s touted on the campaign trail.

DeSantis has so far leaned heavily on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, touting his minimal shutdowns, as well as his efforts to wade into what he has termed the “war on woke,” including his push to curtail lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools that has put him at odds with Disney, ABC News’ parent company.

The Democratic National Committee shot back at DeSantis, noting that the policies he’s teasing don’t hit on third-rail culture war issues where he took hardline positions as governor.

“We can’t help but notice that Ron DeSantis seemed to have left out his support for banning abortion, cutting Social Security and Medicare, or keeping health care expensive in his home state. Good luck hiding from that,” said DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa.

DeSantis’ campaign has also been been waging a bitter back-and-forth with Trump, the current GOP primary frontrunner. The two men and their campaigns have torn into each other over their pasts, taking shots at each other over everything from COVID-19 policies to abortion to criminal justice reform.

Trump has accused DeSantis of showing insufficient loyalty after his endorsement helped him win his 2018 governor’s race and exaggerating the success of his tenure, while DeSantis has accused the former president of not being conservative enough during his time in the Oval Office and not being a serious executive.

“I don’t think that’s what voters want and honestly, I think his conduct, which has been doing for years now, I think that’s one of the reasons he’s not in the White House now,” DeSantis said in an interview with a New Hampshire radio station earlier this month.

National and statewide polling shows Trump with a healthy lead over DeSantis, though a recent CNN poll showed Trump’s primary support dropping six percentage points from May while DeSantis’ support held steady — though it’s unclear how sustained the trend will be in upcoming surveys.

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