March 16, 2023


The GOP Campaign Trail Is Already Getting DeSantis-Proofed: As he explores a run for president, the demanding Florida governor is already coming across as a "nightmare" in the early primary states. (Jake Lahut & Zachary Petrizzo,  Mar. 16, 2023, Daily Beast)

At any given fundraiser or VIP room where he's present, Ron DeSantis is usually easy to find--in the corner, keeping to himself.

Despite having a job that entails exchanging small talk and pleasantries on a daily basis, the Florida governor tends to brush off those obligations and struggles with basic social skills, according to a source close to DeSantis, several of his former staffers, and other GOP operatives who have worked with him and his team. [...]

During his donor retreat in Palm Beach in late February, an attendee stood up and called him "DeSatan," according to Republicans familiar with the outburst.

At his recent book tour stop in Davenport, Iowa, a volunteer English teacher and seasoned caucus enthusiast posed for a photo alongside the governor with the term "fascist" carved out within her design of a paper snowflake.

The governor's aversion to pressing the flesh, and his concern over the risk of unexpected interactions with the public, is already so well-known that early primary state players are working to DeSantis-proof their events in order to attract the flinty would-be candidate and his tight-knit team.

The problem is, hosts often have no idea what the DeSantis team wants.

"Easily the least responsive campaign I've ever dealt with," one veteran event host in an early primary state told The Daily Beast, requesting anonymity to avoid alienating the Florida governor.

"We invite, invite, invite, ping, ping, ping. We don't hear anything," this prominent event host said.

"He's been tighter in his requests than other candidates," a top New Hampshire Republican told The Daily Beast, adding that only former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came to mind as a bigger "nightmare" to deal with.

During his Iowa swing, DeSantis' apparent use of bike racks to create space between himself and a crowd didn't go unnoticed elsewhere. "If they want 50 bike racks, we'll give them 50 bike racks," a New Hampshire GOP lawmaker quipped to The Daily Beast. A representative for DeSantis did not return a request for comment for this story. [...]

Several former staffers for the governor told The Daily Beast almost everything he does is scripted, which, coupled with an aversion to small talk, general pleasantries, and any unplanned interactions with the public, make him difficult to manage ahead of events.

Posted by at March 16, 2023 12:43 PM