The campaign kickoff of Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already convinced one New Hampshire supporter to kick him to the curb.
DeSantis declared his candidacy Wednesday in what NBC summed up as a “flubbed Twitter rollout” that was “glitch-filled” and a “flop.”
“It’s rare that something is so awful that in the middle of it you know you’re witnessing a moment in history that will be both punchline and cautionary tale for decades, but DeSantis achieved dubious distinction tonight,” NBC quoted what it said was a veteran Florida Republican operative.
The repercussions were felt in New Hampshire, where earlier this month the Never Back Down PAC, which is part of Team DeSantis, was crowing that it secured the support of 51 Republicans who are in the New Hampshire legislator, one more than a list former President Donald Trump released in April.
The DeSantis list also caused some confusion and embarrassment, because four Republicans on the DeSantis list had also been on the Trump list. Two later said they were solidly for DeSantis, one solidly for Trump and one was for both.
That list was further shuffled Thursday when, according to a release from the Trump campaign, New Hampshire state Rep. Sandra Panek, who was on the Never Back Down list, decided that a bad start was a bad omen.
“After being less than impressed with Ron DeSantis’s official announcement last night, I am hereby switching my endorsement to President Donald J. Trump,” she said in the statement.
New Hampshire State Representative Sandra Panek Flips Endorsement from DeSantis to President Trump
“After being less than impressed with Ron DeSantis’s official announcement last night, I am hereby switching my endorsement to President Donald J. Trump… pic.twitter.com/2iVUkc1LMj
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) May 25, 2023
“We can’t expect someone to run the country if they can’t properly run their own campaign launch. The stakes are simply too great in 2024 to take a chance on someone as unreliable as DeSantis — we need a proven winner like President Trump to take back the White House and Make America Great Again!” she said.
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The release noted that New Hampshire state Rep. Juliet Harvey-Bolia, who was the legislator who indicated support for both candidates, fully renounced her backing of DeSantis in this campaign.
“I’m proud to announce my full endorsement for President Trump, and only Trump. He’ll keep us out of war and prosperous as he has in the past. Ron DeSantis will make a great candidate in 2028. I expect Republicans will unite behind President Trump,” she said.
Not surprisingly, Trump joined in the condemnation of the DeSantis event, according to The New York Times.
“I tried for the first half-hour. After that, everybody just turned it off,” Trump said when tracked down on a golf course near Washington. “I don’t know if it’s recoverable.”
In comments to radio host Erick Erickson Thursday, DeSantis was not apologetic.
“We felt that there would be a lot of buzz about it. And I think that was probably the biggest story in the world yesterday. And so hopefully we’ll get some people interested in our campaign who may not have been otherwise,” he said.
Technical issues at the start of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign launch have distracted from his message.
Former Arkansas Gov. @AsaHutchinson, also a GOP candidate in 2024, says DeSantis has plenty of time to recover.
MORE: https://t.co/Bf7vYD0ylA #MorningInAmerica pic.twitter.com/QCcsjEsO2A
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) May 25, 2023
But for the moment, the tide of commentary was against him.
“It is some achievement to crash before you have even taken off,” ran an editorial in the French newspaper Le Monde.
“The muddled exercise came across more like a parody of a Twitter advertisement than the launch of a campaign,” the editorial said.