by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
During an interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier on Monday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis dismissed criticism from veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins that he is a “very flawed candidate.”
Rollins once chaired the pro-Trump Great America PAC but later served as co-chairman of the Ready for Ron PAC, which supported DeSantis’s entry into the race. However, he told Rolling Stone recently that he is “not involved” in efforts to elect DeSantis now.
“I don’t think it’s the campaign’s fault at all; it’s his. . . . I think he’s been a very flawed candidate. I know some of the people around him, and some of them are good, talented people,” Rollins told the outlet.
“But every time he opens his mouth, he has a tendency to — shall we say — think out-loud, and he clearly doesn’t understand the game,” Rollins said. “When you get into these culture wars the way that he has, the vast majority of people don’t understand what they are.”
Rollins said “at this point in time” he would be “shocked if Trump were not the nominee.” He suggested that President Biden would win reelection “unless something serious happens.”
During an interview on Monday, Baier asked DeSantis about Rollins’s comments.
“Well it’s obviously nonsense,” DeSantis replied. “I mean, I came into a state that had been decided by one point for a generation. You’ve covered some of those races. I govern boldly. I govern unapologetically. I delivered big results, and we won by 20 points. You don’t win a state like Florida that big if you’re not doing things that are resonating.”
“And I would push back — when I hear about things, ‘Oh, culture war’ — standing up for the rights of parents, standing up for the well-being of children, that’s not some ‘culture war,’” DeSantis said. “That is central to the lives of tens of millions of people throughout this country. It is the right thing to do to stand with our kids.”