2018 Ron DeSantis was worried he would 'piss off' Donald Trump’s base
In a leaked video of 2018 debate prep obtained by ABC News, now-Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) expressed frustration at his inability to respond to test questions in a way that wouldn't "piss off' Donald Trump voters.
According to the report, DeSantis was working with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to get ready for a debate as he made his first bid for statewide office and was struggling over how to "not alienate Donald Trump's base."
"Is there any issue upon which you disagree with President Trump?" DeSantis is asked by Gaetz during the mock debate sessions, with ABC reporting, "'I have to figure out how to do this,' then-Congressman DeSantis replied, while letting out a deep sigh."
He then complained, "Obviously there is, because I mean I voted contrary to him in the Congress. I have to frame it in a way that's not going to piss off all his voters."
The report notes, "ABC News obtained nearly two and a half hours of raw internal tapes of DeSantis' 2018 debate prep sessions that have not previously been made public. His comments in the videos provide a rare glimpse into how the Florida governor, who is now poised to enter the 2024 Republican primary, had previously calculated how to effectively appeal to Donald Trump's fiercely loyal base while also working to carve out his own lane as a candidate -- a balance that DeSantis may need to hone if he is to secure the party's nomination in 2024."
DeSantis also worried about how some of his answers would play to the audience.
"At another point in the session, DeSantis dismisses some of his team's suggestions regarding how to hit at his opponent," ABC reported, with DeSantis stating, "Some of the ones that are digs, I don't think they work. I think it makes me look like an assh---."
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