The Case Against Casey DeSantis. Really?

The Case Against Casey DeSantis. Really?

The Case Against Casey DeSantis. Really?

The Florida governor is monster enough on his own. Now we’re supposed to blame it on his wife?


Apparently, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis uses they/them pronouns.

“It’s always been a them,” a source told Politico.

“They are,” another source said, “this singular entity.”

“Who the fuck are we?” a third source exploded.

They are all discussing the role of DeSantis’s wife, Casey, in his political career. It’s allegedly monstrous.

“She is both his biggest asset and his biggest liability. And I say biggest asset in that I think she does make him warmer, softer,” Dan Eberhart, a DeSantis donor and supporter, told Politico. Virtually all sources for this takeout on Casey DeSantis’s role—after “hundreds of interviews over the last few years and more than 60 more over the last few weeks”—needed to be granted anonymity “because of the power of a governor who might be a president and also that of his wife and what they perceive to be their collective capacity for spite.”

But not Eberhart.

“He needs to be surrounded with professional people, not just her,” the donor said, adding that Casey DeSantis needs to “take a more traditional role.” Translated as: “Active and visible—but not the principal’s wife and the architect.”

A more traditional role.

Jill, Melania, Michelle, Laura, Hillary, Barbara. Oh, and Nancy. Go back 40 years, and you’ll find some kind of hit piece on the first lady, or the ladies running for that office. They’re power-mad; they don’t grab enough power (Blink, Melania!). But this Politico piece feels different. Naked in its sexism while insisting that it’s in fact giving the woman in question agency, credit, attention.

I’ve never seen such a raw example of why we haven’t had a woman president—and maybe won’t. At least in my lifetime, unless a man picks his wife as his vice president, and then dies of the shame of her upstaging him.

Some days I read one thing, early, that I can’t get out of my head. This was today’s. I despise DeSantis (however he pronounces it; you must read the piece to learn more) and I’m sure his lovely wife is just as terrible. But I can’t believe the trouble Politico went to in order to tell us that.

According to Politico’s sources, most anonymous, she’s power-mad and paranoid: “She is and always has been by far his most important adviser, they say, because she is hesitant to cede that space to nearly anybody else,” Michael Kruse writes. Kruse quotes a former DeSantis administration staffer: “He’s a leader who makes political decisions with the assistance of his wife, who was elected by nobody, who’s blindly ambitious…. And she sees ghosts in every corner.” Kruse sees fit to include Roger Stone’s reference to her as “Lady Macbeth.”

And apparently she, not the governor, is to blame for the high turnover among his staff. Kruse writes, “‘The reason why there is so much turnover and has been within the DeSantis ranks throughout the years,’ a Republican consultant told me, ‘is if you get on the wrong side of Casey DeSantis, you’re gone.’” “‘He’s a vindictive motherfucker. She’s twice that,’” Kruse quotes “a higher-up on one of [DeSantis’s] campaigns” saying. The source adds, “‘She’s the scorekeeper.’” David Jolley, a former GOP Florida congressman, refers to her as an “ice queen.”

Is Casey DeSantis the power behind the governor’s eradicating, just this week, any kind of “diversity, equity and inclusion” programs from Florida universities? Did she write the “Don’t Say Gay” law that was recently extended from third grade through eighth grade? Did she lock him out of the marital bedroom to get him to ban any kind of gender-affirming care for trans kids? Did she turn him against Disney—even after forcing him to marry her at Disney World in 2009? Is she personally selecting all the books that have been banned from Florida school libraries?

If so, I would read a profile about all of that. But this seemed like the worst sort of Beltway journalism, answering a question other journalists are gossiping about but nobody can quite answer, while everyone looks away from the gargantuan right-wing forces that are disabling our democracy.

DeSantis, Donald Trump’s leading rival, was already losing stature. This might hasten his descent. MAGA folks on Twitter are comparing Casey to Hillary. Misogynist ratfucker Roger Stone is very happy.

I’m waiting for the Politico profile of the person—him, her, or they—behind the horrific DeSantis agenda. But in the meantime, we know Casey is “by all accounts an able rider of horses.” Ron is the horse! Get it? We are in for an awful 18 months of presidential campaign coverage.

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy