For months, Ron DeSantis avoided the mainstream media. He exclusively spoke with far right organizations, living in a bubble where he could look and talk tough without anyone asking him any hard questions. Could it work? Nope. Six weeks into his campaign he had to do a reboot, which included gutting staff. It also means talking to reporters who won’t throw him softball questions — or ignore that he’s still trailing way behind his state’s most famous resident.
As per Mediaite, Friday night’s edition of NBC Nightly News featured reporter Gabe Gutierrez sat down with the Florida governor for what the latter surely knew wasn’t going to be an easy chat. He tried to sound like the more reasonable choice for the Republican ticket.
“If we make it about the vision for the future, we’re going to win,” DeSantis declared. “Obviously, with me as the nominee, you know, we’re going to focus on Biden’s failures and our vision for the future. That’s what the election will be about. If Donald Trump is the nominee, it’s going to be about all those other issues.”
Gutierrez took umbrage with his confidence, telling him, “With all due respect, Governor, you’re down by 30 points, though.”
DeSantis then paused for three whole seconds — not a long stretch of time, but a small eternity when it comes to a news interview. He stared ahead, as though in disbelief that anyone would dare point out the cold, hard facts about his dumpster fire of a campaign. It was a moment reminiscent of the massive brain fart he had during a debate last year when challenger Charlie Crist dared him to admit to voters that he was going to ditch his governor duties to run for president.
When DeSantis finally spoke, it was clear some nerves had been twisted in his brain. “Well, no, I mean, that… Says you!” he said, adding, “I mean, I can tell you, we’ve been in Iowa. I’m the one showing up at all these places. We’re signing up people day after day here in Iowa.”
Gutierrez was likely referring to a new poll from Fox Business Network, which showed Trump ruling the state with 46%. DeSantis was in a distant second, at a mere 16%. In most polls DeSantis tends to lag behind in the 20s, and considering how much time he’s been spending in Iowa, this is far from encouraging.
But if DeSantis wants to go with anecdotal evidence of what he’s seeing on the ground versus actually polling, he’s free to delude himself as much as he wants. After all, it’s a free country.