Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has announced his bid for the 2024 presidential election, promising to fight against what he calls the “woke ideology” that is infiltrating schools, government and corporations.

DeSantis, who has gained national attention for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and his opposition to critical race theory, made his declaration at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual policy conference in Washington on Friday.

“We are going to leave woke ideology in the dust bin of history — where it belongs,” DeSantis told the cheering crowd of conservative activists. “We are not going to let them take over our institutions. We are not going to let them indoctrinate our children. We are not going to let them cancel our culture.”

DeSantis, a former Navy officer and Harvard Law graduate, was elected governor of Florida in 2018 with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. He won reelection in 2022 by a wide margin, defeating former Governor Charlie Crist.

DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of Trump and his policies, and has often clashed with the Biden administration over issues such as immigration, voting rights and vaccine mandates. He has also signed several controversial bills into law, such as the Stop WOKE Act, which bans teaching about systemic racism and white privilege in public schools, and the Parental Rights in Education Act, which restricts teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity.

DeSantis is widely seen as one of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination in 2024, along with Trump himself, who has not ruled out running again. DeSantis has dodged questions about whether he would support Trump as the nominee, saying he would “respect the outcome” of the primaries.

DeSantis said his campaign slogan would be “Never Back Down,” and that he would offer a vision of “freedom, opportunity and prosperity” for all Americans.

“We are going to stand up for our constitutional rights. We are going to stand up for our American values. We are going to stand up for our great American comeback,” DeSantis said. “And we are never going to back down.”

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