'The DeSantis A-team': How a 'digital army' of conservative influencers relentlessly promotes the Florida gov
Although Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has restored Donald Trump’s @realdonaldtrump account, the former president has so far opted to keep his own Truth Social as his primary social media outlet. But Trump rival Ron DeSantis, who may be competing with him in 2024’s GOP presidential primary if he decides to run, is — according to the Daily Beast’s Jake Lahut — being aggressively promoted on social media, including Twitter, by his “digital army” of “conservative influencers.”
In an article published on January 25, Lahut reports that bombarding social media with DeSantis-related posts is a “core element of the DeSantis team’s political strategy as he gears up for a possible run for the presidency in 2024.”
“According to five Republicans familiar with the discussions,” Lahut reports, “the governor’s top lieutenants have quietly recruited a network of conservative social media influencers as part of a broader attempt to circumvent the mainstream press and appeal directly to GOP primary voters nationwide.”
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Those pro-DeSantis influencers, according to Lahut, include podcast host Jack Murphy, former Newsmax host John Cardillo, and Herschel Walker’s son Christian Walker. Others, Lahut writes, are Caleb Hull (a former Donald Trump digital strategist who, Lahut writes, has “said some very, very racist things”) and David Reaboi, described by Lahut as “Hungary-loving and Qatar-hating bodybuilder with longstanding ties to John Bolton”).
“This is the DeSantis A-team,” Lahut explains, “and they’re fighting a battle for a presidential campaign that hasn’t even started yet — with plenty of DeSantis face time, dinners, and photo ops…. The effort has picked up steam ever since Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ perennially online rapid response director, moved from the governor’s office to his campaign in August of last year.”
A “conservative influencer,” interviewed on condition of anonymity, told the Daily Beast, “A friend of mine in Miami told me Christina was recruiting people to, I guess, promote DeSantis on social media. They started doing a sprawling influencer campaign…. It’s not a lot of the big influencers, I don’t know if you’d call them mid-tier influencers or micro-influencers — I think it’s a ragtag band of misfits, quite frankly. It’s like a lot of these washed-up MAGA people who either sell their soul, or are a little, uh, out there.”
A different right-wing “influencer,” quoted anonymously, told the Beast, “They’re not sending their best, OK? They all live in Miami. They hang out with Christina daily. She feeds them all the narratives and the talking points, and that’s basically her role…. trying to control the narrative on social media.”
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Read the Daily Beast’s full story at this link.
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