As Florida governor Ron DeSantis seeks to win the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election, he is making a concerted effort to win over evangelical voters, touting his Catholic faith and pro-life bona fides.
In the Republican primary, DeSantis is facing off against Donald Trump, a man whose evangelical support has been ironclad, even despite multiple scandals, two impeachments, and now criminal indictments. Nevertheless, DeSantis apparently feels confident that he can woo evangelical voters away from the former president with his vision for a “war on woke.”
In a recent interview with CBN News, DeSantis described his upbringing as “a working class kid” whose parents made sure he went to church every Sunday.
When asked about his upbringing, particularly his experiences attending a Catholic grade school, DeSantis said, “I think by and large I liked it. But again, I think the things that I didn’t like about it were because they were doing the right thing by making sure that we were disciplined.”
“You would pray every day. Some of the nuns were very strict about what your obligations were,” DeSantis continued. “And again, as a young kid, maybe not the most fun at the time, but I think was the right approach.”
DeSantis expressed that he seeks to instill the same values in his own children.
“Our household is a Christ-centered household, and we’re raising our kids, you know, with those values. We think that that’s very important,” DeSantis said. “It’s great for us when our kids are coming back from preschool or kindergarten, talking about David and Goliath and talking about some of these things.”
“So we’re very, very appreciative of being able to do that,” DeSantis continued. “My son—he was four for Christmas this year—he wanted a sling to be like David slaying Goliath, and so that really warms our hearts when we see that.”
DeSantis said that during times of difficulty, such as when his wife, Casey, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 or when his sister died suddenly at the age of 30 in 2015, he turns to the words of Scripture.
“I would point out, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life,’” DeSantis said, quoting Jesus’ words found in John 14:6. “I mean, that’s ultimately what the faith centers around. Yes, there’s a lot of traditions, you know, and I think a lot of those are nice. But at the end of the day, it’s kind of, you know, where is your heart with respect to God, and what is that relationship?”