Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn't officially entered the Republican presidential primary yet, but some of his supporters are taking steps to work around his lacking social skills.
Multiple sources told The Daily Beast the Florida governor struggles with basic social skills, and his allies are working in early primary states to structure events to prevent unexpected interactions between the public and a candidate who is off-putting at best and rude at worst.
“He would sit in meetings and eat in front of people, always like a starving animal who has never eaten before,” a former DeSantis staffer told The Daily Beast, “getting sh*t everywhere.”
At a Palm Beach donor retreat late last month, an attendee stood up and heckled him as "DeSatan," according to Republican sources, and an Iowa caucus-goer posed for a photo with DeSantis holding a paper snowflake with the word "fascist" cut into it, but even those who wish to smooth the path at events have found staffers have taken on the governor's standoffishness.
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“Easily the least responsive campaign I’ve ever dealt with,” said one veteran event host in an early primary state. “We invite, invite, invite, ping, ping, ping. We don’t hear anything."
DeSantis apparently used bike racks to wall himself off from the public during his Iowa visit, which one New Hampshire ally noticed.
“If they want 50 bike racks, we’ll give them 50 bike racks,” said a New Hampshire GOP legislator.
Three former staffers described DeSantis as merely "quiet" and prefers a "very small" orbit, but one top New Hampshire Republican said only Newt Gingrich was a bigger "nightmare" to handle.
“He’s been tighter in his requests than other candidates,” that Republican said.