DeSantis meets with military veterans at South Carolina coffee shop as 2024 race heats up

EXCLUSIVE: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis met with military veterans and local law enforcement at a coffee shop Wednesday as part of a multi-stop tour of South Carolina, as speculation about a potential 2024 presidential run continues to swirl. DeSantis and Florida first lady Casey DeSantis sampled coffee and chatted with local officials, including Dorchester County GOP Chairman Steven Wright, at Coastal Coffee Roasters, a veteran-owned organic coffee shop in Summerville, South Carolina. Gov. DeSantis, a former Navy officer who served in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), discussed his military service with Air Force veteran Brad Mallett, the shop’s owner. The Florida governor also posed for photos with Navy veteran Dwight Decker, a former SWAT officer who owns Black Force Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness Academy in Ladson and runs a nonprofit for veterans called Grappling PTSD. RON DESANTIS REVEALS HIS PLAN TO ‘MAKE AMERICA FLORIDA’  The coffee shop visit was one of multiple stops DeSantis made in the Palmetto State on Wednesday.  Earlier, he held events in Charleston and Spartanburg, where he discussed his new book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.” During a fireside chat with the first lady in Charleston, DeSantis said he hadn’t been to the city since he visited in the 2000s when he was still active duty and he and his wife were still dating. “I did come up for the Navy at one point, but then we would come up, and we’d spent a lot of time,” DeSantis said. “It’s a really, really great area and a really, really great state, and so we’re happy to be back.” Casey added that her sister and brother-in-law were both C-17 Air Force pilots. While DeSantis has not officially announced his candidacy for president, all signs point to him making an announcement soon, and former President Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner in the 2024 presidential race, has stepped up his attacks against the Republican governor.
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