Ron DeSantis Super PAC Spokesman Basically Admits the Governor’s Presidential Prospects Are in the Gutter
Once upon a time, Ron DeSantis was seen a the future of the Republican Party—not just an heir to Donald Trump but the guy who was going to break the ex-president’s iron grip on the GOP and handily win the 2024 nomination. Of course, these predictions happened well before the Florida governor ultimately announced he was officially running for president—that is before he had to actually get out on the campaign trail, interact with people outside of his home state, and make the case for why he is qualified to run the country. And since he has, his odds of making it to the White House have taken an absolute nosedive.
How badly are things looking for DeSantis these days? So bad that a person whose job is to literally get the guy elected is out here talking about uphill battles, as in the uphill battle to get DeSantis elected.
Yes, during an interview on Twitter Spaces on Sunday—the same forum in which DeSantis formally announced his candidacy in late May—Steve Cortes, a Trump adviser turned national spokesman for the DeSantis-aligned Never Back Down super PAC, said: “I believe in being really blunt and really honest. It’s an uphill battle.” He added: “Right now, in national polling, we are way behind. I’ll be the first to admit that.” One recent poll revealed just 16% of voters would cast a ballot for DeSantis if the GOP primary were being held “today” (the survey took place between June 26 and June 29), versus 49% of respondents saying they’d go with Trump. Perhaps even more alarmingly—if your goal is for DeSantis to become president*—is the fact that Vivek Ramaswamy is trailing the governor by just six points.
Despite apparently understanding how poorly things are going for DeSantis, Cortes nevertheless insisted that his candidate has a shot, albeit a very, very long one. “In the first four states—which matter tremendously—polls are a lot tighter. We’re clearly still down. We’re down in double digits. We have work to do. We have wood to chop,” Cortes said Sunday. He also theorized that prospective voters simply don’t know Ron well enough, and will start changing their tunes once he becomes less of a mystery to them. “I’m of the belief that once we really get his story out there—and thankfully, we have the resources to do that, he’s campaigning with just frenetic pace already—so I think once we get that out there, my view is that we’re going to close this gap. I’m of the firm view that this is a two-man race,” Cortes said.
(Of course, the flip side of that argument is that people have already gotten to know DeSantis, and don’t like him, hence his dwindling poll numbers. And it’s possible they don’t like him because of (1) his stupid fight with Disney, (2) his highly restrictive abortion ban that has reportedly even given GOP mega-donor Ken Griffin pause, (3) his obsession with attacking the LGBTQ+ community, (4) his migrant-shipping political stunts and (5) the fact that, in the words of one former GOP lawmaker, “He’s an asshole.” Among, y’know, many other things.)
Hilariously, during the event on Twitter, Cortes pointed to Trump’s recent state and federal indictments as explanations for his lead (which he’s probably not wrong about).
In response to a request for comment from CNN about his remarks, Cortes said: “The former president has debated through two successive presidential cycles, so of course he possesses a lot of experience in that arena. But I am convinced that Governor DeSantis will outperform expectations and inform large audiences about his amazing life, political record, and winning agenda for the presidency.”
*To be clear, this should not be anyone’s goal, nor should it be their goal to reelect President Bubonic Plague.
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In which Donald Trump suggests the cocaine found in the White House was for Joe Biden’s use
“Does anybody really believe that the COCAINE found in the West Wing of the White House, very close to the Oval Office, is for the use of anyone other than Hunter & Joe Biden,” Trump asked his Truth Social followers on Wednesday. “But watch, the Fake News Media will soon start saying that the amount found was “very small,” & it wasn’t really COCAINE, but rather common ground up Aspirin, & the story will vanish. Has Deranged Jack Smith, the crazy, Trump hating Special Prosecutor, been seen in the area of the COCAINE? He looks like a crackhead to me!”
Speaking to Politico on Wednesday, a law enforcement official said it will be extremely difficult—if not impossible—to determine who brought the drugs into the White House. “Even if there were surveillance cameras, unless you were waving it around, it may not have been caught” on tape, the person said. “It’s a bit of a thoroughfare. People walk by there all the time.” Suffice to say, they did not suggest that the 80-year-old president was going to use it to do rails off the Resolute Desk. (As for the Hunter Biden of it all, as New York magazine writes: “One should give Hunter Biden the benefit of the doubt here. By all accounts, he has stuck with sobriety over the last four years despite the glaring national spotlight on his past behavior. But a younger version of Hunter was very much the type to think he could get away with such a move—and then totally not get away with it. There is one element working in his favor: He was at Camp David over the weekend, only arriving at the White House on Tuesday for fireworks with his dad. That should be a sound enough alibi, even if betting websites has him as the odds-on favorite.”)