Miami, Florida – October 9, 2023
Ron DeSantis, the Republican presidential hopeful and Florida governor, is embarking on a media blitz that will see him engage with more adversarial and diverse platforms. The move is part of an effort to distinguish himself from the pack and make his mark in a crowded political landscape that includes former President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, DeSantis is scheduled to make an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, a show known for its critical perspective on his candidacy and the GOP field. According to an adviser, DeSantis intends to follow this with an appearance on CNN in the coming weeks, another network that hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with conservative ideals.
These interviews come on the heels of recent discussions with mainstream media outlets such as CBS, ABC, and CNBC. DeSantis also recently appeared on HBO’s Bill Maher show, known for its liberal-leaning audience, where he fielded questions on topics ranging from his past support for Republicans who contested the 2020 presidential election outcome to his ongoing disputes with Disney.
In the coming weeks, DeSantis is expected to further broaden his media outreach by appearing on multiple network Sunday programs, according to one of his advisers.
These diverse interviews represent a shift in DeSantis’s campaign strategy, where he is venturing outside of his ideological comfort zone. The adviser explained that the governor is open to conducting additional interviews on platforms that cater to left-leaning audiences.
DeSantis’s spokesperson, Andrew Romeo, emphasized that the governor is aiming to communicate his message across a wide spectrum of media outlets to share his vision for reversing America’s perceived decline as president.
However, DeSantis’s media appearances also underscore a challenging reality in the GOP primary: it’s difficult for non-Trump candidates to capture media attention. During his initial term as governor and in the early stages of his 2024 presidential campaign, DeSantis predominantly limited his media interactions to conservative platforms, with Fox News being a primary choice.
With polls indicating a substantial lead for former President Donald Trump and fierce competition from contenders like former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, DeSantis is aggressively expanding his media exposure. By engaging with outlets like CNN and MSNBC, he hopes to demonstrate his ability to handle tough questions and appeal to primary voters as a strong contender.
DeSantis’s team contends that some Republican primary voters tune into these networks and don’t exclusively rely on conservative media. They argue that his appearances on CNN and MSNBC allow him to stand out from candidates who solely target conservative outlets.
Notably, DeSantis will participate in his Morning Joe appearance remotely. This marks his first appearance on MSNBC in the current year, and he has only granted one previous interview to CNN, which took place with host Jake Tapper in July.
Morning Joe’s host, Joe Scarborough, a former Florida congressman, has been vocal in his criticism of DeSantis. In recent statements, Scarborough described DeSantis’s choice to decline a meeting with President Joe Biden during Biden’s Florida visit as “strange” and “bush league.”He also criticized DeSantis’s handling of his campaign launch and his decision to sign a six-week abortion ban, which he labeled as politically damaging.
DeSantis has previously faced criticism for being inaccessible to mainstream news outlets. During his first term as governor, he gained a reputation for holding confrontational press conferences, a practice that garnered attention in right-leaning circles and earned him praise from conservatives.