Former Florida GOP chairman says the more people meet DeSantis ‘the more they are not going to like him’

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a GOP presidential hopefulMeg Kinnard/AP

  • Former Florida GOP chairman Joe Gruters took a shot at Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • He’s the latest former DeSantis ally to take a shot at the governor’s struggling presidential campaign.

  • Gruters told The Washington Post that he “fully expected the downfall” of DeSantis’ campaign.

Former Florida GOP chairman Joe Gruters told The Washington Post that Ron DeSantis’ struggles on the presidential stage were expected based on how he’s treated people as governor.

“The more he is met by people, the more they are not going to like him,” Gruters, who is also a state lawmaker, told The Post. “The more he’s out there, the more his numbers go down. It’s not a good long-term scenario for him. I fully expected the downfall of his campaign a long time ago.”

Gruters was one of more than 30 people in Washington and in Florida that dished to The Post about DeSantis’ awkwardness and to make some of the political niceties that are necessary for future relationships to flourish. Like other past stories, those around DeSantis said he tends to be aloof, gives preference to his own opinions, and maintains an insularity that is striking to even long-time politicians. Just like Gruters, many of them ended up endorsing former President Donald Trump over the top official in their state.

DeSantis’ campaign has clearly struggled early on. Once within striking distance of Trump, he now trails by nearly 39 points, per FiveThirtyEight’s weighted national average. The Florida Republican has also fired more than 1/3rd of his campaign staff and demoted his campaign manager all in pursuit of a reset less than six months before the Republican nomination fight begins.

The former GOP chairman said that DeSantis had backed him for the job, but once Gruters was elected he only “infrequently” heard from the governor. Gruters also accused DeSantis of trying to purge his staff.

Rep. Byron Donalds, another former DeSantis ally who also endorsed Trump, said he knew that DeSantis just didn’t excel at building relationships. Donalds said that DeSantis’ awkwardness on the campaign trail makes sense through this lens.

“In presidential politics, you have to be able to engage and connect with people. It’s through TV, it’s through interviews, it’s charisma,” Donalds told The Post. ‘You know it when you see it … I never felt like it was something the governor would be able to do or accomplish.”

Paul Renner, the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, defended DeSantis to the publication, arguing that the governor’s ability to shepherd conservative policies into law virtually speaks for itself.

“He’s delivered like no other governor has on both policy and elections. I’m less concerned about having my ego stroked,” Renner said.

A representative for DeSantis’ campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Comment