The leaks and embarrassments keep flowing out of Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis’ camp.
On Thursday, the New York Times obtained extraordinary audio of the chief strategist for his Super PAC begging donors for $50 million and trashing every other candidate in the field.
Jeff Roe, who runs Don’t Back Down, which effectively controls DeSantis’ campaign and is seemingly breaking all sorts of campaign finance laws, told donors he needs the cash before the next Republican debate September 27.
“Now let me tell you a secret — don’t leak this,” he said before the call got leaked. “We need to do this now. We’re making a move now.”
As the NYT points out, it’s apparent DeSantis’ advisors are pinning their hopes on Iowa, which will hold its caucuses in January. Donald Trump currently leads DeSantis with 42% of support compared to 19% in the Hawkeye State, according to a new Des Moines Register poll.
Roe, however, said Trump’s real support lies at 37%, and an additional 37% of voters like the disgraced ex-president but want to move on.
Up this point, Never Back Down has taken a whopping $82.5 million out of DeSantis’ state political action committee, raised nearly $50 million and spent almost $34 million through the end of June. Given those numbers, Roe’s demand for $50 million is alarming, or as the NYT puts it, “audacious.”
In a totally non-desperate plea, Roe told donors he would even meet them at the “TSA security line” to grab their checks.
“This doesn’t run on, you know, fumes,” he said. “And so we’re going to go spend this money right now, betting that our donors won’t let us down. And I’ve been let down by donors a lot. And I’ve already lost once to Trump and we can’t do it again.”
Yeah, 50 Mil for a candidate who is behind 50 points. 💀— Chintan (@Teh_Diver) September 1, 2023
Bummer. I need to pay for groceries.— LindaMurphyN (@Lilybellblue2) September 1, 2023
The race was over a year ago. The racist, deplorables will never abandon Trump.— Richard Dangler (@RepRichDangler) September 1, 2023
Roe’s main argument for pushing the gay-hating governor hard, despite his sagging poll numbers and awkward debate performance, is the ineluctability of the other candidates. He said Sen. Tim Scott is liked by voters but not viewed as presidential, and personally attacked Nikki Haley.
“[She]’s not actually a lovely person,” he said.
When it came to Trump, Roe said he would lose the general election and drag other Republicans down.
This is the second time in three weeks there’s been a humiliating leak from DeSantis allies. Prior to the debate, the Super PAC’s campaign memo leaked, and it contained all sorts of juicy details.
In addition to broadsides against other candidates, the memo included a reminder for the flailing candidate to invoke his family and “show emotion.”
But amazingly, the leaked phone call may not be the most embarrassing story involving DeSantis on the Friday before Labor Day. A 15-year-old who asked him a question at a New Hampshire town hall told the Daily Beast he was physically restrained by DeSantis’ security team on multiple occasions afterward.
The question was whether DeSantis thought Trump violated the “peaceful transfer of power.”
If DeSantis can’t look a 15-year-old in the eye, how will he fare against Vladimir Putin?
Probably about as well as he’s faring against the rest of the field.
That’s how he treats reporters in Florida if they ask him any hard questions, they get banned from future press conferences. He can’t handle it.— Sarah (@DefeatTrump7) September 1, 2023