- Donald Trump says he doesn’t like the word “woke,” despite using it many times in the past.
- Ron DeSantis appears to love using the word, boasting that “Florida is wear woke goes to die.”
- DeSantis’s attacks on “wokeness” come straight out of Trump’s playbook.
Former President Donald Trump said he doesn’t like the word “woke” — despite many years of explicitly using the word and directly attacking “wokeness,” a move his 2024 rival Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also embraced.
Trump made the comment on Thursday while speaking to a conservative group in Urbandale, Iowa.
“I don’t like the term ‘woke’ because I hear ‘woke woke woke’ — you know it’s like just a term they use, half the people can’t even define it, they don’t know what it is,” Trump said.
Trump has used the word “woke” countless times over the years in speeches, official statements, and online posts. For instance, at one of his “Save America” rallies in 2021, Trump went on a fairly typical rant about wokeness in which he said, “everything woke turns to shit” and complained about how the US women’s soccer team “went woke.”
DeSantis, a Trump ally-turned-presidential challenger, has also taken on Trump’s habit of attacking wokeness, making it a central part of his campaign. He loves to boast that “Florida is where woke goes to die.”
Legislation he supported that limits discussions about race and diversity in schools and workplaces was even titled to Stop WOKE Act — with WOKE standing for Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees.
DeSantis’s camp has in fact defined “woke” before. During a trial concerning the potential reinstatement of a Florida state attorney who was fired after saying he would not prosecute abortion seekers or providers, DeSantis’s team was asked to define “woke.”
Taryn Fenske, communications director for DeSantis, said woke was a “slang term for activism … progressive activism” as well as a belief in systemic injustices, Florida Politics reported.
“To me, it means someone who believes that there are systemic injustices in the criminal justice system, and on that basis, they can decline to fully enforce and uphold the law,” Ryan Newman, general counsel for DeSantis, said, according to the outlet.
When asked for a more general definition, he added, “it would be the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.”