Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called for Google and other major technology companies to be broken up at a closed-door event in 2021, according to video obtained by ProPublica.
“I do think companies like Google should be broken up,” DeSantis said at an invite-only retreat for the conservative Teneo Network. “They’re just too big; they have too much power.”
“I think they’re exercising a more negative influence on our society than the trusts that got broken up at the early 20th century,” he continued.
In the conversation with conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who has since launched a 2024 bid for president, DeSantis claimed that the tech companies are “ruining our country.”
“I think they’re a very negative influence. And so, I think you need to be strong about it,” the Florida Republican said.
DeSantis has previously taken aim at major tech companies, signing a bill in 2021 that sought to prohibit tech companies from banning users or moderating content based on political views. However, the law remains tied up in the courts amid First Amendment challenges.
“Protecting the rights of folks to participate in political speech, I think, is an absolutely appropriate role of government,” DeSantis argued at the 2021 event.
The Florida governor, who is also widely considered a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, proposed legislation last month that would ban TikTok from state government devices.
The bill would also block government employees from “coordinating with Big Tech companies to censor protected speech.”
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.