DeSantis to Newsmax TV: My Wife's Helped Me With Messaging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends the flag raising ceremony prior to The Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club on May 07, 2021 in Juno Beach, Florida. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
By Brian Trusdell | Wednesday, 12 May 2021 06:19 PM
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis credited his wife Casey, a former television news reporter, for helping negotiate media and shaping his messaging to the public, reminding him that he needs to remember what the policy accomplishes, not that he accomplished it.
What she understands, I think, is ‘Look, you're right on the policy.
“’And you can never lose sight of the fact it's not about just signing a bill or a budget item for that. What does that mean?’”
DeSantis’ comments came in an exclusive interview before partaking in the “Newsmax Town Hall – Leading to Liberty” at the Florida retirement community The Villages northwest of Orlando on Wednesday.
The 42-year-old Republican met Casey, 40, on a golf course while he was in the U.S. Naval Reserve as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) and she was working as a crime reporter for WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida.
“I was at the time prosecuting cases for the Navy JAG,” DeSantis explained. “She was a local crime reporter for a TV station. So we hit it off. She’d call me and say, ‘Hey, I'm watching the trial what does this mean? What does that mean?’ So, I was able to help her early on.”
DeSantis, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, acknowledged that he has suffered the slings and arrows of critics, particularly for his policies during the outbreak of the coronavirus that were less restrictive.
News commentators were particularly incensed about refusing to close beaches, allowing indoor dining before most other states and especially when he lifted restrictions on outdoor stadiums in October. He suspended all local COVID-19 restrictions in the state earlier this month.
“The way I look at it, when you get into this business, when you have an ‘R’ next to your name, there's certain people if I walked across the ocean they’d say, ‘DeSantis can't swim.’
“I mean, that's just kind of the way it is. So you just put that in the bank. So you just, you just put that away. That's just what it is, so you can't let that really do. So most of the criticism is partisan based. Now, the media, corporate media in particular, they've always been biased. But since Trump, I think they're totally off the rails. They don't believe in facts.”
DeSantis seemed to take some pleasure in proving pundits wrong, particularly about his COVID-19 policies. He pointed out that despite having one of the oldest populations in the country, and with older Americans faring far worse from COVID-19 than any other demographic group, that Florida’s per capita death rate is in the lower half of the nation, according to worldometers.info.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, when the media was attacking me because I wouldn't close beaches, which by the way was the right decision not to close them, I signed that order prohibiting the transfer back to the nursing homes, [they] never even reported on it,” he said.
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