Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis concluding an appearance at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida (Photo: Gage Skidmore, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

Flori­da Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis announced today he is end­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and endors­ing Don­ald Trump for the 2024 nomination.

In an online video, DeSan­tis awk­ward­ly con­firmed spec­u­la­tion he’s call­ing it quits after his much-hyped but extreme­ly inef­fec­tive cam­paign flamed out in Iowa.

“If there was any­thing I could do to pro­duce a favor­able out­come, more cam­paign stops, more inter­views, I would do it, but I can’t ask our sup­port­ers to vol­un­teer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to vic­to­ry. Accord­ing­ly, I am today sus­pend­ing my cam­paign,” DeSan­tis said.

Mim­ic­k­ing Vivek Ramaswamy, DeSan­tis then offered a very swift endorse­ment of Don­ald Trump. “While I’ve had dis­agree­ments with Don­ald Trump, such as on the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic and his ele­va­tion of Antho­ny Fau­ci, Trump is supe­ri­or to the cur­rent incum­bent Joe Biden. That is clear,” DeSan­tis commented.

Though Trump is not yet the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee, DeSan­tis nev­er­the­less referred to him as such while knock­ing Nik­ki Haley: “I signed a pledge to sup­port the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee and I will hon­or that pledge. He has my endorse­ment, because we can’t go back to the old Repub­li­can guard of yes­ter­year or repack­aged form of warmed-over cor­po­ratism that Nik­ki Haley represents.”

DeSan­tis released his video along­side a quote attrib­uted to Win­ston Churchill (“Suc­cess is not final, fail­ure is not fatal: it is the courage to con­tin­ue that counts.”)

The Inter­na­tion­al Churchill Soci­ety, how­ev­er, con­clud­ed after exhaus­tive research that Churchill nev­er said those words. How fit­ting that DeSan­tis used a fake quote to accom­pa­ny the end of his divi­sive, pathet­i­cal­ly futile pres­i­den­tial campaign.

DeSan­tis’ embrace of Trump ful­fills a pre­dic­tion made by Cal­i­for­nia Gov­er­nor Gavin New­som back in Novem­ber, weeks before the Iowa cau­cus­es. New­som, who went on Rupert Mur­doch’s FNC to debate DeSan­tis with right wing host Sean Han­ni­ty as mod­er­a­tor, told the Florid­i­an to his face that he would be endors­ing Trump with­in a mat­ter of weeks. And that is pre­cise­ly what hap­pened today.

Watch the clip:

“Fire sale on all Ron DeSan­tis merch today!” New­som jeered after DeSan­tis’ cam­paign released DeSan­tis’ exit video. (DeSan­tis’ online store is still up.)

It was only a week ago that DeSan­tis said: “You can be the most worth­less Repub­li­can in Amer­i­ca, if you kiss the ring, Trump will say you are won­der­ful… You know what? You deserve a nom­i­nee that will put you first, not him­self first.”

Only a few hun­dred hours lat­er, DeSan­tis kissed the ring.

The New York Times assigned not one, not two, not three, but four reporters, writ­ing from New Hamp­shire, to chron­i­cle the end of DeSan­tis’ campaign. 

Via a top-of-the-fold sto­ry, the quar­tet reflect­ed: “In throw­ing his sup­port to Mr. Trump, Mr. DeSan­tis seemed to be try­ing to unite the con­ser­v­a­tive wing of the par­ty behind the for­mer pres­i­dent while ignor­ing the fact that he was bend­ing the knee to a man who had ridiculed him as if it were a blood sport.”

While nation­al polit­i­cal reporters worked on sum­ma­riz­ing DeSan­tis’ dis­as­trous cam­paign from start to fin­ish, crit­ics were glee­ful­ly roast­ing him on social plat­forms after watch­ing his with­draw­al announce­ment and Trump endorsement.

DeSan­tis’s implo­sion is more con­fir­ma­tion that anti-woke pol­i­tics has com­plete­ly fiz­zled,” not­ed Greg Sar­gent. “DeSan­tis orga­nized his entire gov­er­nor­ship *and* cam­paign on this theme. Now Moms for Lib­er­ty is los­ing every­where, Youngkin failed dis­as­trous­ly, and ‘where woke goes to die’ Ron is kaput.”

“Ron DeSan­tis spent $150 mil­lion ($20 mil­lion RDS and $130 mil­lion Nev­er Back Down) and only got 23,420 votes $6,400 per vote — a record of fail­ure by a fac­tor of 10x (Michael Bloomberg only spent like $450 per vote),” observed Doug Landry. “The biggest dump­ster fire in the his­to­ry of pres­i­den­tial politics.”

The New York Times Pitch­bot served up a delight­ful com­pi­la­tion of awful pro-DeSan­tis takes from the past two plus years. Among the pieces fea­tured were:

Dis­miss Ron DeSan­tis at Your Per­il (Frank Bruni col­umn for The New York Times, Feb­ru­ary 16th, 2023)

How Ron DeSan­tis won the pan­dem­ic (Michael Kruse col­umn for Politi­co, Sep­tem­ber 18th, 2021)

Is Ron DeSan­tis the Future of the Repub­li­can Par­ty? (Matt Fle­gen­heimer col­umn for The New York Times, Sep­tem­ber 13th, 2022)

Ron DeSan­tis is Don­ald Trump with brains and with­out the dra­ma (Joshua Chaf­fin col­umn for the The Finan­cial Times, Octo­ber 19th, 2022)

“I ran for pres­i­dent and all I got was this lousy par­tic­i­pa­tion tro­phy,” added The Good Liars (a mem­ber of whom actu­al­ly was able to get right up to DeSan­tis and offer him the tro­phy, which DeSan­tis declined to accept.)

“Ron DeSan­tis should be forced to car­ry his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to term,” quipped San­ti­a­go May­er, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Vot­ers of Tomorrow.

Paul Krug­man had a more sober obser­va­tion. “Although we’re all mak­ing fun of DeSan­tis’s humil­i­a­tion, we should­n’t for­get that his anti-vax cru­sade — in ser­vice of his doomed run — prob­a­bly killed thou­sands of peo­ple,” Krug­man tweet­ed.

“We need an inves­ti­ga­tion on how Florida’s tax­pay­er resources were mis­used on the DeSan­tis cam­paign,” argued Thomas Kennedy, cit­ing this NBC report­ing. “He had tax­pay­er fund­ed offi­cial staff shak­ing down dona­tions from lob­by­ists with the impli­ca­tion their projects would be vetoed if they didn’t contribute.”

“Ron DeSan­tis pinned his entire campaign’s hopes on the same extreme MAGA agen­da that both Don­ald Trump and Nik­ki Haley are still run­ning on, and now he is the lat­est mem­ber of the GOP to fall in line behind the orig­i­nal MAGA brand,” said DNC Nation­al Press Sec­re­tary Sara­fi­na Chi­ti­ka in a statement.

“Just like Trump, DeSan­tis ran a cam­paign pledg­ing to ban abor­tion nation­wide, rip away access to health care, and gut Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare, while embrac­ing elec­tion deniers and white­wash­ing Jan­u­ary 6th. Whichev­er can­di­date wins the race for the MAGA base will be left run­ning on the same dan­ger­ous and unpop­u­lar anti-free­dom agen­da that vot­ers will reject in November.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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