Republican 2024 presidential nominee and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is giving out “Jeb Bush vibes” while on the campaign trail, former GOP communications director Tara Setmayer said on Saturday.
“The idea of Ron DeSantis was what attracted people to him until he went on the campaign trail and people realized that he’s actually whiny. He got snippy with a high school student for asking him a basic question. He can’t answer a question about January 6, , for goodness’ sake. So even though he’s raised all this money, it’s giving me Jeb Bush vibes all over again,” Setmayer said to MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart on The Saturday Show.
In May, DeSantis announced his bid to run for president and is among the ever-widening field of candidates running for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination. While former President Donald Trump regularly maintains a commanding lead in the polls, DeSantis has proven to be his most significant opponent, polling behind in second place, still ahead of others in the field like former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
“Jeb raised 100 million dollars and went nowhere. The donor class may have wishful thinking that they thought Ron DeSantis was the guy maybe on paper I guess, but in reality, he’s certainly not,” Setmayer added on Saturday.
Previously a communications director for former GOP Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Setmayer now works with the anti-Trump conservative PAC, The Lincoln Project. She formally left the Republican Party in 2020 and declared herself an independent.
“Both being Floridians, DeSantis and Jeb Bush actually draw money from a lot of the same Republican Establishment donors,” Political analyst and Dillard University professor Robert Collins told Newsweek on Sunday. “The issue with DeSantis is the same as it was with Jeb Bush. They have the money to communicate their message, but primary voters are simply not interested in the message because they have already committed to and locked on to Donald Trump.”
While on the campaign trail during the 2016 GOP primaries, Bush, the brother and son of former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush respectively, was unable to convert a sizable fundraising advantage into success at the polls.
Meanwhile in recent polls, Trump has pulled ahead of the crowded GOP candidate field by double digits.
“The DeSantis poll numbers will not change between now and the first primaries,” Collins said, adding that DeSantis’ best hope is to go down to early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire to “press the flesh, engage in retail politics, talk to people one-on-one, and hope that he can do well in both of those primaries.”
The political analyst continued: “In person politics is different than television politics. Sometimes candidates that are not doing well in the mass communication channels do better with one-on-one discussions. That might allow him to pick up some momentum.”
Meanwhile on Sunday, DeSantis spoke further about the importance of Iowa during an interview with Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo.
“We understand this is a state-by state process. We’ve had incredible support in the early states, building an organization, signing up the key people that you need to be able to compete in a place like Iowa,” the Florida governor said, who added that he believes parents and moms will be a “secret weapon” for the primaries and general election.
Newsweek has reached out to DeSantis’ campaign via email for comment.
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