When autocomplete options are available, use up and down arrows to review and enter to select.
Apply Give

Gov. Ron DeSantis tells LU students he will continue fighting ‘war on truth’

“I will fight the good fight. I will finish the race. I will keep the faith.”

Standing before a packed arena of Liberty University students during Friday morning’s Convocation, the 46th Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis shared the importance of fighting for truth amidst a culture that has seen the woke agenda rapidly gain ground in recent years.

“We have made Florida the state where woke goes to die,” he said. “The woke mind virus represents a war on merit. It represents a war on achievement. It’s a form of cultural Marxism that seeks to use identity politics to divide Americans. Perhaps most of all, the woke represents a war on the truth. As a leader, I don’t seek adulation. I don’t seek any fanfare. All I seek is the pursuit of the truth. Truth is enduring. As time goes by, the deceit and the lies fade away and what is true remains. Yes, the truth shall set you free. Because woke represents a war on truth, we must wage a war on woke.”

He said the consequences of living under left-leaning governmental rule are dire.

“States and cities that are governed by leftist politicians pursuing leftist ideology have seen crime skyrocket, they’ve seen their taxpayers abused, they’ve seen medical authoritarianism imposed, and they’ve seen core American principles discarded,” he said. “The woke agenda has caused millions of Americans to leave these jurisdictions for greener pastures. This has been a great exodus of Americans.”

He recounted his state’s progress under his leadership and his path to office. He won the gubernatorial election by a slim margin in 2018 and was reelected in a landslide in 2022.

“My view is very simple: I may have earned 50 percent of the vote (in 2018), but that entitled me to wield 100 percent of the executive power, and I intended to do that to advance an agenda that I believed was right for the state of Florida,” he said. “We would not do that agenda based on putting our finger in the wind or looking at polls. Leaders are not captive to poll results. Leaders set out a vision. Leaders execute that vision. And leaders deliver results, and when you do that, it doesn’t matter what the polls were before that, you can change public opinion. People will support you if they see you’re doing a good job.”

That agenda has led to a state known for championing liberty and freedom.

“Florida has served as the most desired destination, a promised land of sanity in a world that has increasingly gone off its rocker,” he said. “We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have elevated the importance of family and promoted a culture of life. We have respected our taxpayers and we have rejected woke ideology.”

He said his efforts in the state of Florida will continue and that we must “insist on the restoration of time-tested Constitutional principles.”

“I am honored to be here and I look forward to the battles ahead,” he said. “I will fight the good fight. I will finish the race. I will keep the faith.”

DeSantis has served as governor of Florida since 2019. A native Floridian, DeSantis attended Yale University, where he graduated with honors and was the captain of the varsity baseball team. He also graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy as a JAG officer. During his active-duty service, he supported operations at the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and deployed to Iraq as an adviser to a U.S. Navy SEAL commander in support of the SEAL mission in Fallujah, Ramadi, and the rest of Al Anbar province. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

After active-duty service, DeSantis served as a federal prosecutor. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 from Florida’s Sixth Congressional District before running for governor in 2018. Gov. DeSantis is married to Florida first lady Casey DeSantis, a former Emmy Award-winning television host. They have three children.

After DeSantis’ address, Liberty Provost and Chief Academic Officer Scott Hicks presented the governor with an honorary Doctorate of Humanities.

DeSantis’ message had significant impact on the student body.

“Seeing the work that he’s doing and the fight that he’s fighting is very inspiring,” junior Jesse Hughes said. “Especially for a bunch of young students, some of whom like me want to go into politics. … Seeing somebody who is a leader and is implementing their faith in their leading, no matter what field you are going into, it is truly inspiring.”

Before Convocation, DeSantis took photos backstage with Helms School of Government students, affording them the opportunity to meet someone in the top of their field who has held true to his convictions along his journey.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to meet (Ron) DeSantis,” freshman Emma Dayton said. “I’m so thankful for people standing up for life and liberty in the American government. We need more people like him.”

Before DeSantis delivered his message, Chancellor Jonathan Falwell acknowledged Liberty’s longstanding history of welcoming influential voices to its stage.

“Going all the way back through our history, we have always had the opportunity of individuals coming from many different sectors in life to speak into the lives of our students. We have had presidents and we’ve had vice presidents. We have had senators and congressmen. We have had global business leaders. We have had the opportunity of hearing from professional athletes … lots of different educators and leaders who have come and who have brought wisdom to this idea of what it means to be a Champion for Christ.”

DeSantis’ visit follows a host of visits from distinguished leaders serving in public office throughout the years, including former presidents and vice presidents, governors, ranking members of U.S. Congress, and Supreme Court justices who have each taken the stage to share their life stories, unique perspectives, and leadership principles with Liberty students while encouraging them to live out their faith in their future careers.

Liberty’s past guests have included Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Presidents Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter, former South Carolina Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Sen. John McCain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush (1999-07) spoke at Liberty’s Commencement in 2015.

Liberty’s Convocation is held on Wednesday and Friday mornings and is the world’s largest gathering of Christian students. Each year, the Office of Spiritual Development hosts more than 80 internationally acclaimed speakers and thought leaders from a variety of fields.

Chat Live Chat Live Request Info Request Info Apply Now Apply Now Visit Liberty Visit Liberty