Ron DeSantis’s campaign wants him to meet and take more questions from ordinary voters to overcome fears about his temperament, DailyMail.com has learned.
The 44-year-old has so far shied away from Q&A sessions on the road, despite being a standard feature of U.S. politics.
The Florida Governor, who is currently in a distant second place behind Donald Trump in opinion polls, has also evaded media scrutiny at his public events.
He recently exploded at one reporter in New Hampshire who door-stepped him and asked why he failed to take unscripted questions from the audience, raising doubts about his temperament.
And during a campaign event in Iowa last month, footage of DeSantis laughing manically about the cost of running a vintage Porsche triggered online jokes.
Now, three DeSantis staffers have said they have concerns about the Navy veteran’s presentational style after being overshadowed by his wife Casey at rallies.
Ron DeSantis’ advisers are said to be keen to get him to talk to more voters on the road, after a series of gaffes – including this manic laugh at an Iowa event – raised fears over his temperament and electability
The video, which first aired on C-Span, shows the hotly-debated Republican engaged in a conversation with a prospective voter who remarked about the cost of running a vintage Porsche, sending the Florida governor into a dramatic paroxysm of laughter
They are now figuring out ways to overcome his rigid appearance as he makes trips to more diners and meets with smaller groups of voters in his bid to nail down the Republican nomination.
‘He just needs to chill out a bit and be less stiff,’ one source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. ‘He always looks awkward and needs to get out and meet more people.’
Another senior member of Team DeSantis fumed: ‘If his wife is a former TV reporter and she can’t teach him, who can?’
A third source said that they even had to coach the Florida governor on ‘when to smile’ when trying to interact with ordinary Americans.
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump 2024 campaign, said that DeSantis had struggled to connect with voters since announcing his tilt for America’s top job.
Another June 1 gaffe saw DeSantis snap ‘Are you blind?’ at an Associated Press reported who asked why he wasn’t taking questions from voters during a New Hampshire rally
After declining to take audience questions after his first New Hampshire campaign event today, Ron DeSantis lashed out at a reporter for asking him about it while he was chatting with members of the crowd individually.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) June 1, 2023
DeSantis’ wife Casey – pictured in red – is his most trusted political adviser. Her previous career as a TV reporter means she is polished and comfortable around voters and journalists – qualities that her husband continues to struggle with
GOP frontrunner Trump hit out at DeSantis during his remarks to the North Carolina state GOP convention on Saturday and admitted he is ‘not nice’ to the Florida governor
‘Ron DeSanctimonious’s fundamental problem is that he doesn’t like people. That’s a real challenge when you’re running for president,’ Miller told DailyMail.com
‘And there’s no way to turn it around because you can’t coach personality,’ he added.
Miller’s comments come after the former Congressman’s glitch-ridden announcement on May 24 that he was formally running for the White House.
The audio on the so-called Twitter Space with Elon Musk regularly crashed, meaning DeSantis had to wait some 20 minutes before he could finally make his pitch to be the Republican nominee.
Since launching his 2024 bid, DeSantis has largely focused on championing his conservative credentials from his tenure as governor of the Sunshine State.
He uses his speeches to highlight his anti-lockdown policies at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and vows to continue his so-called ‘war on woke’ if elected commander-in-chief.
The Florida governor has been locked in a legal tussle with Disney after the animation and theme park giant slammed his so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Trump’s recent legal troubles have turbocharged his polls – but there is still a glimmer of hope for DeSantis, with one survey showing him gaining on the former president in the battleground state of Iowa
The fight began last year after the firm publicly opposed a state law that bans classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.
While DeSantis rose to national prominence due to his pandemic response in Florida, the governor is currently more than 30 percentage points behind ex-president Trump in the polls, according to an average calculated by Real Clear Politics.
Latest figures show that the former commander-in-chief way out in front on 55.8 percent, compared to DeSantis on 23.5 percent, the same source shows.
He is also leading in key early battleground states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.
The winner of any Republican primary would almost certainly go up against incumbent Joe Biden.
The DeSantis team will be hoping that the 76-year-old real estate mogul’s legal woes will eventually scupper his 2024 run, leaving the path open to the nomination.
But if Trump fends off the slew of lawsuits and stays in the race, the crowded GOP field will leave him as the overwhelming frontrunner.
Trump has vowed to continue his run for the White House even if he’s convicted of a crime, and there’s no rules in place to prevent him from doing so.
The other candidates hoping to win the Republican nomination include ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Trump’s former VP Mike Pence.
Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and talk radio host Larry Elder are also in the running for the GOP nomination.
Only no-hopers Robert F Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, and self-help author Marianne Williamson have declared an intention to stand in the Democratic primaries.