'Like a starving animal': How Ron DeSantis’ poor 'social skills' could give Trump the advantage
If far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decides to seek the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, he will have some well-known cheerleaders on the right. The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro, firebrand author Ann Coulter and Fox News' Rupert Murdoch are among the well-known Republicans who are very bullish on DeSantis and believe he would be a much stronger in the general election than former President Donald Trump.
As DeSantis enthusiasts see it, the two-term Florida governor has Trump's MAGA appeal without Trump's baggage. And they point to how well he performed in Florida's 2022 gubernatorial race, which found him running as a far-right MAGA culture warrior and being reelected by 19 percent.
But while Florida was a disaster for Democrats in the 2022 midterms, it was also an anomaly. On the whole, Democrats performed much better than expected in 2022, slightly increasing their effective majority in the U.S. Senate and winning gubernatorial races in key swing states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin — the states that Democratic President Joe Biden, if he seeks reelection, will need to win in 2024.
READ MORE:'Meatball Ron': Trump takes aim at DeSantis in 1am social media rant
How well DeSantis will perform outside of Florida if he runs for president remains to be seen. According to Daily Beast reporters Jake Lahut and Zachary Petrizzo, DeSantis' downfall in the GOP presidential primary — assuming he runs — could be his own "personality." DeSantis, they emphasize in an article published on March 16, can come across as cold and "aloof."
"At any given fundraiser or VIP room where he's present, Ron DeSantis is usually easy to find — in the corner, keeping to himself," Lahut and Petrizzo explain. "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. As DeSantis gears up for a potential White House run in 2024, his aloof public persona is being thought of by his rivals — namely, former President Donald Trump — as his Achilles heel in the retail politics-heavy early primary states."
A source described by Lahut and Petrizzo as a "veteran event host in an early primary state" said that DeSantis had "easily the least responsive campaign I’ve ever dealt with."
That person told the Beast, "We invite, invite, invite. Ping, ping, ping. We don’t hear anything."
READ MORE:Why DeSantis supporters’ response to Trump’s 'groomer' attack is 'hypocritical' and 'pathetic': conservative
An ex-DeSantis staffer, also interviewed on condition of anonymity, told the Beast, "He would sit in meetings and eat in front of people, always like a starving animal who has never eaten before…. getting shit everywhere."
DeSantis' cheerleaders consider him a younger, more self-disciplined and focused version of his former ally Trump. But one problem that Trump, for all his political baggage, doesn't have is being considered distant or aloof. Trump is much better at schmoozing than DeSantis.
According to Lahut and Petrizzo, Trump's more outgoing personality may ultimately give him the advantage over the Florida governor.
"If DeSantis continues on his current course," the reporters write, "Trump's job may not prove very difficult."
READ MORE:Forget Jeb DeSantis. Donald Trump is the Republican Party
Read the Daily Beast’s full report at this link (subscription required).
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