Republicans versus Ron DeSantis
Carlos Curbelo Breaks with DeSantis
Ron DeSantis is Struggling to Unify His Party
Forget red vs. blue — just two days into the general election, Ron DeSantis is creating deep divisions within his own Republican party.
This morning, Florida GOP Congressman Carlos Curbelo said DeSantis should apologize for his ‘monkey’ remark, which Curbelo called “offensive to a lot of people.” Governor Rick Scott refused to defend DeSantis’ remarks, and wouldn’t say if he voted for the Congressman to replace him. This comes after Michael Steele—the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee—said DeSantis’ comments don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. MSNBC host and former Florida Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough said DeSantis’ comments weren’t even a dog whistle—they were a “screaming, 80 foot, flashing neon sign.”
DeSantis’ rhetoric is doing him no favors winning over the divided Florida GOP–which has long thought his extreme, Freedom Caucus record would be poisonous in a general election. Die-hard Putnam supporters are already openly criticizing DeSantis for being too extreme — and too much of a “showboat.” GOP strategist Keith Rupp announced he was leaving the party after DeSantis’ victory. One Putnam voter said she “couldn’t see [DeSantis] doing anything for our state.” Another said “I cannot remember any time I’ve been so upset with a Republican president,” for putting his thumb on the scale for DeSantis.
- “That was just a stupid comment to make.One that was obviously offensive to a lot of people. I know Ron has clarified that it was in no way intended to be racist, but I think he should also apologize because obviously a lot of Floridians and probably a lot of Americans were offended by it given the circumstances.”
- “I thought I was in touch with politics. I woke up this morning and said, ‘I don’t have a clue.'”
- He asked himself, “What happened to my party? Who hijacked it?”
- “In defeat, his supporters — some of which have voted for Putnam since he ran for the Florida House 22 years ago — blamed one person: President Donald Trump.”
- “I cannot remember any time I’ve ever been so upset with a Republican president,” said Jeff Griggs, a Lakeland resident who described himself as a lifelong Republican. “It was totally uncalled for.”
- Rep. Jim Boyd, a Republican representing Manatee County and a Putnam supporter, said he wish Trump hadn’t “put his thumb on scale” in a primary.
- “It’s the wrong message when we got bigger fish to fry,” Boyd said, meaning keeping Republicans in control Congress.
- Others weren’t ready to come together as a party yet. Keith Rupp, a Republican strategist, said he is leaving the GOP after Tuesday’s results. “I’ve been a lifelong Republican and I’ve worked for three different members of Congress,” Rupp said. “I can’t believe the party has turned into a cult of personalities.”
- Switching support to DeSantis won’t be easy for some Putnam supporters. Speaking before the results were announced, Sharon O’Donnell of Poinciana said she is a devoted Republican but isn’t a fan of DeSantis.
- “I like Trump, but he made a big mistake,” said O’Donnell, 72. “DeSantis, I can’t see him doing anything for our state. He’s all for himself. He’s just a showboater.”