Florida is going to have a "budget surplus" despite "predictions of its economic doom" during the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican governor of the Sunshine State Ron DeSantis said on Friday ahead of his speech at CPAC.
"I saw that weather forecast, we're in the mid-60s, most of the other states are in the 30s and 40s. So, I’d take 65 with a whiff of freedom over 35 under the yoke of lockdown any day of the week and twice on Sunday," DeSantis told "Fox & Friends."
Florida received "a lot of opposition from the corporate media" for going "against the grain" on how states handled the coronavirus lockdown.
"But, our kids are in school. Parents are happy with that. Our economy is growing. People are working. And they were predicting economic doom, particularly for Florida, because we're a tourism base and our tourism isn't bad by any stretch," DeSantis said, adding that the Sunshine State is "getting huge revenue with no tax increases."
"We're going to have a budget surplus and we're clicking on all cylinders. We're doing more on the vaccines for the senior citizens. I would rather be in Florida than just about any other state right now," DeSantis said.
DeSantis, who saw his profile rise within the Republican Party during the coronavirus pandemic due to his opposition to locking down his state, was set to kick off the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday.
DeSantis, who was born on Sept. 14, 1978, was elected Florida's governor in 2018. His refusal to completely lock down his state in 2020 during the pandemic -- which has even included efforts to block local coronavirus restrictions that are more strict than at the state level -- is part of what led CPAC to select Orlando, Fla., for its venue this weekend.
"It was a very intentional decision to go to Florida," American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp told Fox News.
Fittingly, DeSantis' CPAC welcome speech on Friday is titled "Florida Welcomes CPAC: Open for Business."
Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.