The competition between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, both leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, has intensified with the addition of a new battleground, securing the endorsement of Moms for Liberty, a conservative organization of parents.
At the end of June, DeSantis had secured a speaking role at the Moms for Liberty National Summit in Philadelphia. Recently, the group declared that Trump would also be present as a keynote speaker.
Including Trump in the group may prompt the inquiry: How will this be received by the Florida governor, who has strongly supported the priorities of Moms for Liberty?
According to Tina Descovich, who is a co-founder of Moms for Liberty, any form of political disagreement was not part of their initial intentions.
According to her, the group, which has previously expressed their backing for Trump and DeSantis, has invited a range of politicians from both conservative and liberal backgrounds to the summit. Among those invited were South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy Jr., and President Joe Biden. However, as of Monday, only DeSantis, Trump, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy had confirmed their attendance as presidential candidates.
Descovich expressed her excitement about the upcoming second National "Joyful Warriors" Summit, as several presidential candidates have agreed to speak at the event.
She believes that their participation indicates that the issues discussed at the summit will be significant in the 2024 election. Descovich is thrilled that elected officials are paying attention to the concerns raised by the summit and is eager to hear their perspectives on these issues.
The topics discussed by Moms for Liberty pertain to various aspects of "parental rights." In 2021, Descovich, a former Brevard school board member, and Tiffany Justice, a former Indian River school board member, established the group.
The organization has gained national recognition for its members' demonstrations at school board meetings on issues like COVID-19 regulations, critical race theory, and LGBTQ matters. Currently, Moms for Liberty has over 115,000 members and 280 chapters in 45 states.
According to the report, in the last two years, various anti-student inclusion groups with a reactionary mindset have emerged across the country, purporting to fight for parents' rights. However, their language and stance are discriminatory towards the LGBTQ community, people of colour, and nationalists, effectively excluding a significant portion of the American population from their purported parental concerns. The report further suggests that these groups use the guise of advocating for parents' rights to maintain their power over issues they disapprove of.
Since 2021, Moms for Liberty has backed both DeSantis and Trump. Even though they are both top contenders in the presidential election, Descovich believes that it will not cause any political tension at the summit. She clarified that there won't be a debate as they won't share the stage. Instead, they will attend separate events spanning three days. "We aim to have them address the concerns of our moms on various issues," she stated.
Trump is set to make his debut appearance at the National 'Joyful Warriors' Summit, while DeSantis addressed the inaugural summit in Tampa back in July 2022, urging participants to take charge of their school boards. Additionally, recall that during the 2022 election, DeSantis and Moms for Liberty frequently collaborated to endorse conservative school board candidates, even though those contests were nonpartisan.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that their agreement has not always been consistent.
During February, DeSantis disclosed a roster of school board members whom he accused of failing to safeguard parental rights and/or defend students from "woke" ideologies, with the aim of "singling out" these members in the 2024 election.
At the summit in July 2022, DeSantis encouraged participants to remain steadfast in the face of opposition.
He advised, "You require bravery. You only have to be ready to support your beliefs... This is not the moment to let them weaken your spirit. You must rise and resist."