Wednesday, March 22, 2023

What Think Tank Does Ron DeSantis Love?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible Republican presidential contender, has strong ties to the Claremont Institute, which has been described as "an influential conservative think tank that promotes foreign policy views broadly aligned with Donald Trump's."

In February 2023, DeSantis met with Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams and announced that Claremont, which is based in Upland, California, will expand its state activity to Florida.

The Claremont Institute, which has been called the "nerve center of the American right," praised DeSantis for providing "the first template for any red state in America" through his leadership.

At the think tank's 2021 annual gala, DeSantis was awarded the Claremont Institute's Statesmanship Award.  That was the same year the think tank opened the Claremont Institute's Center for the American Way of Life in Washington, DC.  Its executive director is Arthur Milikh.

In March 2023, DeSantis hosted a roundtable discussion "exposing the diversity, equity, and inclusion scam" in higher education, and participants included Scott Yenor of Claremont.  Yenor, who is Claremont's inaugural senior director of state coalitions, has been described as a "DeSantis-aligned researcher."

Claremont has provided fellowships to a number of prominent figures on the right, including Laura Ingraham, Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin, Mary Kissel, and Mark C. Johnson.  In 2019 it granted a fellowship to Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec.

Meanwhile, Claremont Institute senior fellow John Eastman aided former President Trump in his failed attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.  In 2019, Trump awarded Claremont with a National Humanities Medal.

Claremont was founded in 1979 by four students of Straussian political theorist Harry Jaffa, a professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and the Claremont Graduate University.  The think tank, however, has no affiliation with any of the Claremont Colleges.

The think tank, among other things, publishes the Claremont Review of Books (CRB), a quarterly review of policy and statesmanship.

Update: Vice has a new piece on the Claremont Institute entitled "Trump's Favorite Extreme Think Tank is Jumping Ship for DeSantis."