Ron DeSantis hasn’t even officially launched his presidential campaign yet and he’s already finding himself in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Let’s take a look at Ron DeSantis’ no good, very bad week.
Fresh off his first trip to Iowa last Friday, DeSantis spent this week reading commentary about his “awkward” behavior on the campaign trail, with former colleagues describing him as “standoffish and aloof.”
New York Times: “His preference for policy over personality can make him seem awkward and arrogant or otherwise astonishing in person, depending on the voter and the success or failure of his one-on-one exchanges… As Mr. DeSantis decides whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, one of the biggest questions facing the 44-year-old Floridian is his ability to connect with voters who have had little exposure to him outside his home state.”
NBC:“In interviews with more than a dozen House Republicans, not one said they thought DeSantis, 44, was someone who would have been at the center of the presidential conversation back when they served with him on Capitol Hill from 2013 to 2018. They said DeSantis was quiet and mostly kept to himself; he came off to many as standoffish and aloof. He didn’t ask about colleagues’ families or try to work with them on legislation. And he didn’t seem to enjoy the social nature of the often rambunctious House, where lawmakers need to nurture relationships and build coalitions and support to get things done.”
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.”
After using Tucker Carlson’s platform to reveal his opposition to the United States’ support for Ukraine, DeSantis drew sharp backlash from fellow Republicans.
CBS: While DeSantis has previously criticized what he called a “blank check” policy for U.S. aid to Ukraine, this is his most direct and expansive answer on the issue yet. The governor’s stance puts him in line with former President Donald Trump and at odds with other top Republicans and potential 2024 candidates who have shown ardent support for Ukraine.
Politico: “Senate Republicans are breaking with Ron DeSantis over his opposition to more Ukraine aid, saying further assistance would help the U.S. be more hawkish on China.”
New York Post Editorial Board: “This is a naked attack on the entire world order — and thus on a vital US interest. And “territorial dispute” is a pretty lame way to describe an unprovoked invasion that’s included savage attacks on civilians and a host of other war crimes.”
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “Before he joins the campaign in earnest, the Governor may want to consider that the political risks on foreign policy aren’t only from the Trumpian right. Abandoning Ukraine may cost him with GOP voters who think he is bending in fear of Mr. Trump. Mr. DeSantis has sounded more hawkish notes on Russia in the past, and the press will play those up as contradictions. This could become less a policy issue than a matter of character. What does Ron DeSantis believe, anyway?”
As Florida Republicans rush a more extreme abortion ban at DeSantis’s urging, a new report featured Republicans across the country worrying that DeSantis’s agenda is too extreme for the rest of the country.
Politico: “As the Florida governor cast out to early nominating states in recent days, even some of his supporters could see a problem brewing for him back home. Lawmakers in his home state are advancing controversial bills on gender and diversity policy — base-pleasing issues for Republicans, but a potential liability in a general election…’Wow,’ said Amy Tarkanian, a former chair of the Republican Party in Nevada, where DeSantis traveled over the weekend. ‘A lot of people don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks. I’m pro-life, but that’s pretty extreme.’”