Ron DeSantis is getting hammered from all sides across a range of critical factors, and over the past 12 hours two reports detail what may turn out to be the Florida Republican Governor’s kryptonite: his personality.
Late Thursday night on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour,” conservative Charlie Sykes declared DeSantis has a “personality problem.”
Likening DeSantis to former GOP governors Rick Perry and Scott Walker,” Sykes says, “he’s just not very good at this.”
“He’s got a personality problem which I think a lot of people always knew might come back to bite him – it certainly is now. But also, I think that with Ron DeSantis you’re also seeing that he doesn’t have the kind of political instincts that he needs to be able to scale up, and you know, I hate myself for what I’m about to say here, but this last week, Donald Trump has outmaneuvered him on every single issue – actually looking more reasonable than Ron DeSantis.”
“People just don’t like the guy. And I think that he calculated that he could go for that MAGA base by being the biggest jerk in the race. And, you know, frankly, you can’t do that. You can’t beat the reigning lizard king and Ron DeSantis is finding that out the hard way.”
Just hours later Politico Playbook kicked off the morning with a nod to the Florida governor’s devastating drop in the polls, citing a Wall Street Journal piece that reads: “Mr. DeSantis’s 14-point advantage in December has fallen to a 13-point deficit, and he now trails Mr. Trump 51% to 38% among likely Republican primary voters in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.”
But it gets worse for DeSantis.
Noting they’ve focused this week on “stories about DeSantis’s off-putting social skills and lack of personal relationships with fellow Republican elected officials,” Politico reveals a former GOP Congressman says he “sat right next to DeSantis for two years on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and he never said a single word to me.”
Before being elected governor DeSantis was a U.S. Congressman from 2013-2018.
“If you’re going to go into politics, kind of a fundamental skill that you should have is likability,” Dave Trott, a Republican former U.S. Representative from Michigan who served during the time DeSantis was in Congress told Politico.
“I don’t think [he] has that,” Trott said, referring to DeSantis’ “likability,” or lack thereof.
“He never developed any relationships with other members that I know of. You’d never see him talking on the floor with other people or palling around. He’s just a very arrogant guy, very focused on Ron DeSantis.”
“I was new to Congress, and he didn’t introduce himself or even say hello,” Trott says, adding that he went to his first House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing “early, and DeSantis showed up right at the gavel time and didn’t say hello or introduce himself.”
“And then the next hearing, the same thing happened. I think the third time it happened, I thought, ‘Oh, this guy’s not ever going to say hello to me.’”
“Eventually,” Politico reports, “Trott took the initiative and introduced himself to DeSantis.”
And then, Trott drops this damning, deadly summation: “I think he’s an asshole. I don’t think he cares about people.”
This comes on the heels of last week’s news from the Financial Times, revealing top GOP donor Thomas Peterffy, who has handed out millions to Republicans and was prepared to back DeSantis just months ago has changed his mind, thanks to DeSantis’ extreme culture war actions.
“A major donor finally goes on record with what has been a whisper: donors are getting worried,” is how The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman described the report.
There of course are all the complaints over the past few weeks that DeSantis has been so occupied with his book tour, which apparently is designed to pave the road to his expected presidential campaign announcement – he has yet to declare despite seemingly campaigning in many places except Florida (he’s hit the battleground primary states and Saturday he heads to Japan, South Korea, Israel and the United Kingdom.)
DeSantis initially ignored the massive flooding in Fort Lauderdale, and even Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio this week blasted him – albeit not by name – demanding to know why “they” haven’t fixed South Florida’s gas shortage (a result of the flooding and panic buying.) Meanwhile, DeSantis has been largely MIA from the Sunshine State, sans a late night quiet ceremony during which he signed a highly-controversial six-week abortion ban.
Then, of course, there’s the pudding, a devastating claim detailed by The Daily Beast.
“’He would sit in meetings and eat in front of people,’ a former DeSantis staffer told The Daily Beast, ‘always like a starving animal who has never eaten before… getting shit everywhere.'”
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“Enshrined in DeSantis lore is an episode from four years ago: During a private plane trip from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C., in March of 2019, DeSantis enjoyed a chocolate pudding dessert—by eating it with three of his fingers, according to two sources familiar with the incident.”
Finally, making clear just how unliked DeSantis is, Donald Trump has been actively courting endorsements from every Florida elected politician he can get – and he is getting them, which he made clear in this photo posted Thursday night.