David Keltz

2021 Speechwriters Fellow

What is your current position?

Deputy Communications Director at Ron DeSantis for Governor.

What inspired you to choose this career path?

I started dreaming of working in politics during the 2016 election. I found the Republican primary, and the rise of President Donald Trump to be riveting. I also began reading Thomas Sowell and listening to Ben Shapiro and wondered how anyone in their right mind could ever be a Democrat. I thought I could help make the case for conservativism in an effective, logical and humorous manner, particularly for young people.

What are you currently working on?

I am helping to deliver Governor Ron DeSantis’s message across different communication channels to voters in Florida and ensuring that the Sunshine State remains the freest state in the nation this November.

How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?

A fellow writer and historian told me about the important, exciting, and interesting work that the Claremont Institute performs. He recommended that I read the Claremont Review of Books, which of course I did and continue to do and he also told me about the Speechwriters Fellowship that they offer and for which I subsequently applied.

What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?

Attending the Speechwriters Fellowship in the Fall of 2021 is my fondest memory at the Claremont Institute. It was eye-opening and inspiring to listen to Stephen Miller and Clark Judge discuss the elements of what goes into writing a great speech. They both approach their craft with tremendous passion, precision, creativity, and enthusiasm.

There are all sorts of educational programs out there for current and rising conservative professionals. What do you think makes the Claremont Institute’s Fellowships unique?

The Claremont’s Institute’s Fellowships bring together a highly impressive group of bright, successful and yes, diverse individuals, each of whom are all powerful contributors to the conservative movement. They are all innovative thinkers, and patriots who want nothing more than to see America prosper. The Claremont Institute, in my view is unparalleled in both its talent and its commitment to preserving the essence of the Founders vision.

If you could have a fireside chat and drink with an American Founder, or any great thinker, who would it be, why, and what would you order and discuss?

I would relish the opportunity to drink a milk punch with Benjamin Franklin. When I was in 4th grade, I wrote a research paper about him. I continue to be grateful for his contributions to our founding documents, his inventions, and his wit. I would be eager to discuss his ideas for restoring faith in America and the integrity of its governmental institutions.

Who was more important for their time, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? Why?

I have always been an admirer of Abraham Lincoln, particularly of his unwavering courage during the Civil War. While this is a difficult choice, George Washington was more important for his time, simply due to the fact that he led us to victory as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army against the British. He then nobly and eloquently relinquished his title after successfully serving two terms as the first President of the United States. Washington paved the way for the modern American presidency and famously said, “I did not defeat King George III to become King George I.”

Through the lens of history in which one of the original 13 colonies would you have wanted to live and why?

From a family perspective, I would have wanted to live in Massachusetts during America’s founding. I used to visit my great grandmother in New Bedford, a diminutive town 80 miles from Nantucket, and the site of an early British settlement and the small whaling town from which the Pequod departed at the start of Melville’s great American novel, “Moby Dick.”

Although I would not have been able to sit at a bar as an eight-year-old watching the Yankees play against the Red Sox while eating Portuguese Food, as was my wont, I’d like to think I would have fit in very well with the Quakers.

What would the argument be if you were to write a speech geared to reach a large percentage of left-leaning individuals in order to convince them the nation’s founding principles are still relevant and worthy of being preserved?

The argument to convince left-leaning individuals that the nation’s founding principles are still relevant and worthy of being preserved is that our system of government remains the most successful experiment ever devised in human history. It is a form of government that assumes that neither the governed nor the governors are perfect or perfectible and that the structure of governmental institutions must be tailored in a manner that balances the self-interest and the common interest.

 We know that wherever communism, socialism, and authoritarian regimes have been tried, the people have suffered, their rights have been trampled, and their freedoms have been taken away, whether through famine, starvation, labor shortages, or confiscatory taxation. Capitalism has lifted the greatest number of people out of poverty, it has raised the standard of living for everyone and significantly improved the quality of life. Without the preservation of individual liberty and without a government of the people by the people and for the people, we would not be citizens, but sheep led to the slaughter.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing the Biden Administration?

The Biden Administration has failed on every front both foreign and domestic. Through their own feckless actions and inactions, they have either caused, created or exacerbated problems. Whether on the economy, on inflation, on energy, on education, on protecting the life of the unborn, and on the international stage they have willfully and deliberately run our country into the ground. On top of their disastrous policies they have arguably, two of the most ineffective communicators ever to serve in the two highest positions of the land. Their greatest challenges are curbing inflation, which they caused through reckless spending, bringing down the cost of gas, and tackling the worst border crisis in our country’s history, due to their refusal to enforce our border laws.

What was one of your most memorable experiences with the Trump Administration?

My most memorable experience was watching President Trump host the 2019 World Series Champions, and hometown Washington Nationals at the White House. Everyone was in great spirits on what was a beautiful and sunny day in November on the South Lawn. I’ll never forget when Kurt Suzuki, stood at the podium on the Truman Balcony and proudly put his MAGA hat on.

What books are you currently reading?

I am currently reading All the Trouble in the World; The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency; Last Summer Boys; and Zero to One.

Do you have a favorite quote and if so would you share?

My favorite quote is by the legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell, “What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right.”

What is the most distinctive attribute/character of the people in the state where you grew up that you genuinely admire?

Growing up in Brooklyn, I always admired the grit and character of New Yorkers. For New Yorkers, manners often seem optional, but I’ll never forget the way the city came together and rallied after September 11th. This could not have been more evident than during the 2001 World Series, when it appeared the strength of the city would will my beloved Yankees to a fourth consecutive World Series Championship. New Yorkers have a lot of passion and love for the city, especially for our sports teams, but it’s very sad to see it being destroyed by incompetent leaders.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I hope to have a family with a few kids and I want to continue to play a prominent role in helping to elect Republicans who have the courage to lead the country back to greatness and prosperity. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be one of them.

What is your favorite cultural/recreational pastime (or hobby) and why?

I enjoy playing tennis and going to the US Open. My grandfather taught me how to play in the Berkshires where I would vacation every Summer. I was fortunate to play three years of collegiate tennis. Since moving to Florida, I have become addicted to golf, but tennis will always be my favorite sport to play.

What’s it like living in the state of Florida from a political perspective?

Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida has remained open for business and does not resemble a Faucian dystopia with ridiculous mandates that are not rooted in science, but in virtue-signaling ideology. No one needs a vaccine passport to eat at a restaurant, the police are respected, students are not indoctrinated with CRT and woke gender ideology and the state has never been a more popular place to live or visit.