DeSantis Campaign Faces Scrutiny Over Slavery Comments, Nazi Symbol, Anti-LGBTQ Video

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By Giselle Balido

July 25, 2023

These controversies have emerged as DeSantis’ poll rating numbers are already tanking, despite efforts to woo away voters from Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign is in shambles, just two months after he announced his candidacy.

In recent days, DeSantis has spent much of his time defending the state’s controversial new Black history standards that claim that slavery had its benefits for Black people, as it allowed a race of brutally abused, chained humans to learn “some skills” which “in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Additionally, a new report revealed that the infamous anti-LGBTQ ad featuring DeSantis laughing maniacally alongside clips of a sociopathic character from the film “American Psycho” was actually made within the campaign itself, has not been helping matters. Campaign staffers shared other controversial videos, including one with Nazi symbols. 

These controversies have emerged as DeSantis’ poll rating numbers are already tanking, despite efforts to woo away voters from Republican frontrunner Donald Trump:

  • According to a Statista survey conducted in July, around 36% of Americans have a very unfavorable view of DeSantis, while 16% of Americans hold a very favorable view. 
  • A Fox News poll released Sunday shows DeSantis trailing former President Donald Trump by 40 points in the Iowa GOP presidential caucus.
  • FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate average of national primary polls shows Trump leading DeSantis by 33 points.

DeSantis is also hemorrhaging billionaire donors, who are reportedly rethinking the value of putting their bucks on a fast-sinking ship. Most recently, Nelson Peltz, a billionaire hedge fund manager from Palm Beach, is weighing his support for DeSantis’ bid for the GOP presidential nomination, the Financial Times said. 

DeSantis–whose political organization at one point raised more money than the other Republicans seeking the 2024 nomination–is facing campaign issues so dire, that he is laying off more than a third of his campaign staff (38 people) to help reduce operating expenses and get his campaign back on track. 

‘Nevuh Back Down’

So, what caused the implosion of the Republican governor who at one time appeared to be Trump’s biggest rival?

Former Republican Party campaign consultant Rick Wilson believes that Gov. DeSantis’ campaign “reboot” is headed for a flaming crash that will dash his chances at the White House, and all because of one thing: his stubborn refusal to recognize that his so-called culture wars don’t resonate with most Americans on the national stage. Instead, Wilson says, DeSantis has “doubled down, and his dumb ‘Nevuh Back Down’ persona” may cost him the race. 

“He’s off course, and instead of a real reset (firing the people who get him in trouble), he keeps trying to meme his way into the hearts of the post-alt-right natcons,” Wilson said in a series of Tweets

RELATED: Report: DeSantis’ Campaign Has Raised at Least $290,000 From Florida Lobbyists

Nikki Fried, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, has said that DeSantis “has been given every chance to denounce” some of this incendiary rhetoric, “and he refuses to do it.”  

That is, says Rick Wilson, because “[DeSantis] misses a fundamental of human behavior; correcting a mistake is a strength, not a weakness.”

Last weekend, a group of approximately 70 donors spent the weekend in the exclusive Stein Eriksen Lodge in Utah to chart a path forward for DeSantis’ presidential campaign. According to a “strategy memo,” the new approach includes having the candidate use a microphone to speak to audiences “while embodying his own identity,” or, as one Florida lobbyist and fundraiser put it: to ‘Let Ron be Ron.’

What could go wrong?


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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