Fact-checking Ron DeSantis' opening bid for US presidency

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida announces his presidential bid in a livestream on Twitter that is delayed by technical difficulties and peppered with occasionally misleading claims.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his bid for the presidency on Twitter Wednesday night. The livestream was delayed due to technical problems and laced with some misleading claims.

Here is a fact-check of some of the claims he made.

What was said

"Biden has also politicized and caused the military to plummet."

This is not supported by evidence. Military leaders recently warned that some branches of the armed services are having difficulty meeting recruitment targets. However, the reasons they cited had little to do President Joe Biden. Many young Americans do not meet the requirements.

In a Pentagon 2020 study, only 23 percent of 17-24-year-olds could meet military standards. Many failed the entrance exam or mental and fitness tests. This rate has decreased by six percentage points since the 2017 study.

Please Read:

In April, Army leaders discussed recruiting issues at a hearing before Congress. They noted that this issue had been ongoing for some time.

The Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth said, "The difficult recruitment landscape we face did not happen in a single year. It will take us longer than a calendar year to change this."

Wormuth noted that 2,400 people aged 16 to 28 were asked by the Pentagon about barriers to enlisting. The respondents cited the fear of injury or death as their top concern, while cultural and political concerns -- "wokeness in military, for instance, or the COVID vaccination mandate" -- were relatively low.

What Was Said

Florida's crime rate has reached a low not seen in 50 years. Florida is not among the top 25 American cities with the highest crime rate.

This is mostly true. The crime rate in Florida fell to its lowest level in 50 years in 2021. However, DeSantis fails to mention a major caveat. Many agencies have switched to different reporting methods, and in many cases the data are provisional or incomplete.

In 2021, the total crime rate for Florida was calculated using data from only 59% of Florida's agencies. These agencies cover 57.5% (or 57.5%) of its population. This trend is mirrored across the nation: Nearly 40% of agencies in the United States failed to report crime data for 2021 due to the new methodology.

Florida cities did not rank near the top of violent crime rates compiled by news organizations and private companies. It's also worth noting that FBI experts and criminal justice professionals have long warned against comparing the crime rates of different cities due to the large differences in population and demographics.

What Was Said

"Nobody has probably made Disney more than I have because they were open at COVID." They were also closed in California for many months, and I literally had all of the Florida theme parks open in 2020.

This is a lie. Disney World Florida will close March 15, 2020 along with all other Disney theme parks worldwide. After being closed for four months, it reopened its doors in July. Disney resorts were also reopened after months of closure in Paris, Shanghai Hong Kong, and Tokyo in 2020. Disneyland in California will reopen April 30th, 2021 after an extended closure of a year, the longest shutdown among Disney resorts. This is the first time the state has allowed theme parks to receive visitors.

DeSantis also minimizes his own actions in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. In an executive order dated April 1, 2020, DeSantis directed all Florida residents to "limit their personal interactions and movements outside their homes to those that are necessary." The order did not close theme parks but it restricted the opening of essential services and activities and prohibited groups larger than 10. The order expired on May 1.

What Was Said

The whole book ban is a hoax. In Florida, not a single book has been banned. You can buy or use any book you like.

This is false. DeSantis has greatly downplayed the extent of individual school districts' and libraries' removal of books in certain parts of the state. Florida is actually ranked second behind Texas as the state that has the most book bans, with 357 according to PEN America. This nonprofit organization supports freedom of expression.

Teachers and administrators have removed books due to the DeSantis legislation that limits discussion about sexual orientation, gender identification and race.

Toni Morrison’s The Color Purple, a picturebook about two male penguins who raise a chick and a picturebook about two males raising a chick are among the books that have been pulled from Florida's shelves.

The Bluest Eye

Margaret Atwood is a writer of literary works.

The Handmaid's Tale