DeSantis blames Biden for war in Ukraine, inflation, more in response to State of the Union

‘I did fall asleep during it, I confess,’ Florida governor says

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Tampa Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

TAMPA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reacted Wednesday to President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union speech, blaming the White House for issues including inflation, rising gas prices and even Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I watched most of the State of the Union. I did fall asleep during it, I confess, but, you know, I’ve got three kids (ages) 5 and under,” DeSantis said. “The striking thing is that we’ve got a lot of problems in this country, and that’s obviously something you’ve got to deal with, but it’s striking that so many of these problems have been created by Biden and his administration since he’s become president.”

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Among Biden’s talking points in his speech to Congress Tuesday night, the president condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announced the release of 60 million barrels of oil in cooperation with 30 other countries (including 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) to help “blunt” U.S. gas prices, previewed a new “National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan” with focus on getting Americans back to work, and appealed to Republicans for their help in advancing legislation meant to correct inflation by lowering prices and revitalizing American manufacturing. Several social issues also reached the podium as Biden called for such legislation on his desk as the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Disclose Act and the bipartisan Equality Act, as well as a strengthened version of the Violence Against Women Act.

In general, Biden teed off of the war in Ukraine to preach unity in “the battle between democracy and autocracy” as a way to frame bipartisan arguments on the House floor.

[READ: Full transcript of Biden’s speech of Biden’s speech]

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference in Tampa, DeSantis pinned “chafing” gas prices on Biden’s role in shutting down the never-completed Keystone XL pipeline, suggesting that the U.S. now relies on Russia for oil and is thus funding that country as they wage war on Ukraine.

“You’ve had 40-50% increase in the price of gas. Why is that? Because they shut down the Keystone pipeline (and) said ‘No, no oil from ANWR, nothing in federal lands,’ so consequently, you’re importing more from countries like Russia. So that’s bad for consumers because they’re paying higher, but then it’s also bad for our national security because that’s effectively the fuel that is giving Putin the ability to do what he’s doing,” DeSantis said.

In addition to Biden’s statements regarding oil reserves, the president said Tuesday that U.S. and worldwide sanctions of Russia have caused the Ruble to lose 30% of its value and the Russian stock market to lose 40%, announcing that Russian flights will be closed-off from U.S. airspace as an “additional squeeze” on the Russian economy.

On inflation, DeSantis said that the Biden administration is at fault for the “huge problem” because it printed “trillions and trillions of dollars” and intends to print “trillions and trillions more.” The governor cited “restrictions that have been imposed” for causing supply chain issues, previewing an announcement his office intended to make later in the week as a remedy for inflation by way of inviting shipping companies to do more business in Florida, he said.

DeSantis’ criticism then moved to the U.S.-Mexico border, where Biden said new technology, partnerships and immigration judges are being installed in order to stop human traffickers and other criminals while lessening burdens on legal migrants and their families, should they have a case.

“He said, ‘We want a secure border.’ Well, he’s the one who opened the border. Are you kidding me?” DeSantis said. “Communities, particularly rural communities, are having to deal with the increase in methamphetamine, increase in fentanyl, the cartels are basically eating our lunch. That was all as a result of the policy choices that were made upon him becoming president.”

The governor rebuked Biden’s call to lower the cost of prescription drugs, specifically to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices and to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month.

“Florida has had an application on the federal government’s desk for over a year to let us buy the drugs from Canada, we legislated this a couple years ago, we’ve gone through this Byzantine process and we’ve basically sat and the federal government has done nothing, if they just signed on the dotted line, we actually have a warehouse ready,” DeSantis said.

In response to Biden’s call Tuesday to “fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities,” DeSantis said “many of these cities have defunded police or cut police budgets over the last year, year and a half, and that’s why you see crime skyrocketing.”

DeSantis railed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 guidelines, criticizing since-lifted mandates and lockdowns as following “political science” and once again bringing up Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“If you think about what they’ve done, Fauci is in the witness protection program now. They don’t want him out,” DeSantis said.

Turning to Ukraine, DeSantis credited former president Donald Trump — who in 2019 was accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate Biden in return for military aid, and was impeached over it that December — as having “funded a lot of weapons for Ukraine to be able to defend themselves.”

DeSantis then said he believed Putin’s miscalculation of and subsequent march into Ukraine was, at least partly, the Biden Administration’s fault.

“At the end of the day, you know, this (Putin) is a guy that is very aggressive, and I believe that the decision to go into Ukraine was one that was probably made last summer, as he’s watching what was happening in Afghanistan and the failed American — you know, how Biden handled that. I think he (Putin) sized that up, I think President Xi in China is sizing that up. I think the Ayatollah in Iran is sizing that up, and so you’re gonna have a lot of turmoil over the next three, three-and-a-half years, and unfortunately that’s being proven correct,” DeSantis said.

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.