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Ron DeSantis is an American politician who came to international attention as Governor of Florida during the coronavirus pandemic and earlier as a Congressman and member of the House Freedom caucus. DeSantis is frequently listed as a possible candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, with a large online following and presence, including various memes, since entering the public sphere in the late 2010s.
DeSantis attended Yale (where he played baseball) and later Harvard Law school. He served in the U.S. Navy, working at Guantanamo Bay and in Fallujah, Iraq. In 2012, DeSantis was elected to the United States Congress, where he was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus along with Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows. The Freedom Caucus was formed to push the Republican party to the more conservative right and became known for its opposition to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Governor of Florida
In 2018, DeSantis left Congress to run for Governor of Florida. With the help and support of the controversial Matt Gaetz (U.S. representative for Florida's 1st congressional district) and others, DeSantis won against Democrat Andrew Gillum in an extremely close election that required a recount.
DeSantis, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, started to gain notable national political attention in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. In early 2020 while many states were implementing lockdown and quarantine regulations, the Governor did not declare a state of emergency or mask mandate, resulting in a mixture of support and backlash from those who either opposed such mandates or were in favor of them. This decision also drew opposition from the Biden administration throughout the pandemic.
Press Sec. Jen Psaki responds to FL Gov. DeSantis saying he won’t impose mask mandate for children because kids "need to breathe":
“If I were a parent in Florida, that would be greatly concerning to me.” pic.twitter.com/UWuxkd1Kyc
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 22, 2021
After his decision to forgo certain COVID-19 safety measures, many also alleged that DeSantis' administration purportedly downplayed the pandemic and delayed the release of data so that it would seem the situation was not as bad as it really was. DeSantis argued the economic effects of a lockdown were worse than the effects of the pandemic, and Florida was one of the first states to lift its coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Ron DeSantis refused to issue a statewide mask mandate. When cities and counties did he prohibited them. This is the result last night in Miami Beach. Now Miami Beach is in lockdown. Ron DeSantis has blood all over his hands pic.twitter.com/CjgA9S9EVN
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) March 20, 2021
Beef With Disney / "Don't Say Gay" Bill
After the Disney corporation spoke out against a bill that forbid Florida teachers from discussing homosexuality in the classroom (informally called the "Don't Say Gay" bill), DeSantis moved to eliminate the special self-governing district in which Disney World is located near Orlando, Florida. In 2021, the Governor signed legislation that would end the special legal arrangement between Florida and Disney in 2023, postponing the complicated legal issue of how to handle Disney’s debts as a government and perform the government services that the company does in the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Like many of DeSantis’ high-profile actions as Governor, it emerged in response to a widely covered topic in rightwing media and then spawned its own news cycle in response.
Speculation About 2024 Presidential Candidacy
After the 2020 election, DeSantis continued to support Donald Trump, but a steady stream of commentators speculated that DeSantis, who had become a prominent figure during the pandemic, would run for president in 2024. He became increasingly prominent, purportedly due to a deepening relationship with Fox News that allowed his team to “pitch stories” to the network and receive frequent coverage.
High-profile figures like Joe Rogan and Alex Jones have endorsed an as-yet-unannounced DeSantis presidential campaign. In 2022, DeSantis is running for re-election as Governor of Florida.
While taking with Gina Carano, Joe Rogan says “Ron DeSantis would work as a good president”. pic.twitter.com/5W0HVrmTo6
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 28, 2022
During a rally on the night of November 5th, 2022, while campaigning for Republican candidates in Pennsylvania, former President Donald Trump coined a new nickname for Ron DeSantis — "Ron DeSanctimonious." The latest in a long line of nicknames given by Trump to his political rivals, the "DeSanctimonious" nickname quickly sparked discussions online. Trump introduced the nickname while summarizing polling of Republican voters about who they would support for the presidency. Many, such as @AndrewFeinberg (seen below), shared the clip of Trump announcing the nickname. Feinberg's video earned almost 3,000 likes in less than a day.
"Ron DeSanctimonious" pic.twitter.com/b7jek5597R
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) November 6, 2022
Online, reception of the "DeSanctimonious" nickname was largely mixed. Some detractors of the Governor embraced the nickname, such as Twitter user @DWUhlfelderLaw, who received over 500 likes in a few hours for tweeting (seen below) about the nickname and calling DeSantis a groomer on November 6th.
DeSantis has maintained a notable Twitter presence since February 2012, in addition to his official Twitter account as Governor in which he has over 2.7 million followers.
While many also celebrate and post outspoken support for him on social media, Ron DeSantis is frequently ridiculed by some on Twitter as “DeSatan,” with those on the left memeing about his conservative policies. For example, a tweet by Twitter user @JordanSchachtel from August 19th, 2022, commented on the frequency of jokes around the name "DeSantis" and received almost 800 likes in six hours.
DeSantis has also notably achieved recognition for understanding memes and their power online. He chose to sign a November 2021 anti-vaccine mandate bill in the small town of Brandon, Florida, as a coy reference to the Let's Go Brandon meme.
On August 23rd, 2022, DeSantis' wife Casey posted a video on Twitter titled 'Top Gov' which depicted DeSantis as a Tom Cruise-style fighter pilot battling the mainstream media.
Top Gov… Dogfighting… Taking on the Corporate Media…— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) August 23, 2022
Rules of Engagement are as Follows:
 Florida Department of State – Ronald Dion DeSantis
 Pew Research – House Freedom Caucus
 Politico – How Matt Gaetz Helped Make Ron DeSantis
 Wikipedia – Ron DeSantis
 Sun Sentinel – Secrecy and spin How Florida’s governor misled the public on the COVID-19 pandemic
 Bloomberg – Florida’s Bond Chief Sees Disney District Being Re-Established
 The New Yorker – Can Ron DeSantis Displace Donald Trump as the GOPs Combatant in Chief?
 The Daily Beast – Joe Rogan Backs Ron DeSantis for President Because Of Course
 Newsweek – Alex Jones Endorses Someone Way Better Than Trump
 Twitter – @GovRonDeSantis
 Twitter – @JordanSchachtel
 NBC – DeSantis goes to Brandon, Fla to sign anti-vaccination mandate bills
 Twitter – @AndrewFeinberg
 The Hill – Trump jabs at DeSantis during rally
 Twitter – @DWUhlfelderLaw
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Aug 19, 2022 at 08:10PM EDT
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