Casey DeSantis – the force to be reckoned with in Ron’s run: The mother-of-three said he looked like Tom Cruise at their Disney wedding – now she has become his closest confidante. But is her charisma enough to carry him to the Oval Office?
- Beyond the image of loyal wife and mother, she is an ‘exceedingly hands-on’ political spouse
- Insiders say she has a much more colorful personality than her husband
- ‘When she comes into a room, people really gravitate towards her’
As Ron DeSantis launches his White House run, the woman who has been staunchly by his side during his rapid rise through the Republican party will be a force to be reckoned with.
Mother-of-three Casey DeSantis, 42, has taken center stage with her dazzling outfits, channeling the classic style of powerhouse First Ladies Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan.
Behind the scenes, she is one of the Navy veteran’s closest advisors and the main driving force behind his ascent to the national limelight.
Now, she will become a crucial fixture of his campaign and will be tasked with captivating the public – just as she did on the night her husband was inaugurated as Florida Governor for the second time.
As they travel the country, trying to persuade voters to make him leader of the free world, she will juggle looking after their children- Madison, five, Mason, four, and Mamie, two – and going to events as campaigning becomes ferocious.
DeSantis has faced questions over his apparent lack of charisma – Donald Trump recently said he needed a ‘personality transplant’ while recent footage of him laughing maniacally went viral last week.
Mother-of-three Casey DeSantis, 42, has taken center stage with her dazzling outfits, channeling the classic style of powerhouse First Ladies Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan
Others have questioned whether his retail politics will be enough to carry him to the Oval Office.
So it could be down to Casey, who announced she was free of breast cancer in March, to lead the charm offensive.
Her rising star has also put her under the spotlight, with a recent Politico piece – met with disgust by Republicans – that called her a ‘liability’ and compared her to Lady Macbeth.
With an office in the governor’s suite, she is already pulling strings by having her say on staff hires and state policy.
‘She is apparently an exceedingly hands-on political spouse. She is her husband’s closest advisor and often literally shares the stage with him,’ Katherine Jellison, a Professor of History at Ohio University who studies First Ladies, told DailyMail.com
‘At this point, I think most Americans only know her visually. With her cascading dark hair and colorful wardrobe, she somewhat resembles a young Priscilla Presley and immediately attracts attention when she is on-stage with her husband.
As they travel the country, trying to persuade voters to make him leader of the free world, she will juggle looking after their children- Madison, five, Mason, four, and Mamie, two – and going to events as campaigning becomes ferocious
Those who have worked with or been to events with Casey say she can light up the room when she walks in
‘She also apparently has a much more colorful personality than her husband. She seems to enjoy interacting with the public much more than he does. When she has a speaking role during appearances with her husband, she may actually spend more time talking to the audience than he does.
‘I think she will be a force to be reckoned with as the wife of a presidential candidate. And if she were to become First Lady, I think she would probably present herself as she has in her role as Florida First Lady – as primarily a supportive wife and caring mother of three young children.
‘But behind the scenes, she would play a major role in directing the activities of a President DeSantis.
‘When she comes into a room, people really gravitate towards her,’ Florida Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz told Dailymail.com last month.
He worked with the couple when he served as director of emergency services in Florida, becoming close to them as they served the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
Casey has been described as warm and open, while her husband has been accused of lacking charm.
They met at a golf driving range the University of Northern Florida and bonded over beer and the love of hitting the links.
The pair got married at Disney World in November. Looking back, the governor has admitted the nuptials are ‘ironic’ considering his war with the Magic Kingdom.
Casey said her husband looked like Tom Cruise from Top Gun on the big day – dressed in his white navy uniform.
Friends have previously told DailyMail.com that they didn’t think the marriage would work.
Casey’s rising star has also put her under the spotlight, with a recent Politico piece – met with disgust by Republicans – that called her a ‘liability’ and compared her to Lady Macbeth .
The pair got married at Disney World in November. Looking back, the governor has admitted the nuptials are ‘ironic’ considering his war with the Magic Kingdom. Casey said her husband looked like Tom Cruise from Top Gun on the big day – dressed in his white navy uniform
Behind the scenes, Casey is one of the Navy veteran’s closest advisors and the main driving force behind his ascent to the national spotlight
Casey was too good for him, they suggested – a local television anchor seen as a news rising star. He, on the other hand, was fresh out of the Navy and working at a law firm while pondering his political future.
‘There were people there that didn’t think it would work – that didn’t think it was a good match,’ a guest at their wedding told DailyMail.com.
Fourteen years on, they have proven to be a power couple in the Republican Party.
A former Emmy-winning journalist, she is at ease both in front of the camera and in person. But the questions remains if her dazzle is enough to outshine his gruffness.
‘When we walked into a room, I mean, she knew how to work that room. She made sure she talked to everybody. She made sure she gave them time, to make sure that she listened. She takes notes,’ Rep. Moskowitz added.
‘She really knows how to light up a room.’
In her public remarks, she chatters as if she knows everyone in the room personally, effortlessly comfortable in her public speaking.
She often works her personal life into her official remarks, making the connection her husband struggles to build.
‘I’m a mom – 6, 4, 2,’ she said at an event in Florida at the end of March, outlining her kids’ ages.
And she added, as her audience laughed: ‘It’s kind of hard to get out of the house this morning but at least I’m wearing the same shoes.’
Casey quit her journalism career in the aftermath of the June 14, 2017 shooting at practice for the Congressional Baseball Game.
Her husband was on the field when a gunman opened fire and injured six, including fellow Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, who is now the House Majority Leader.
She moved on from her own career to focus on her husband’s political ambitions, and help him rise through the ranks of the Republican party to the governor’s mansion.
Curtis Dvorak, who was her co-anchor at First Coast News at the time of the shooting, previously told DailyMail.com that Casey broke down in the parking lot after she’d spoken to her husband on the phone.
‘She is in her car on the phone with him and she was just in tears, just melted. Just like sobbing. And so I grabbed her and I hugged her,’ he told DailyMail.com.
DeSantis had left practice early with fellow Congressman Jeff Duncan. And, on their way to their car, they ran into a man who asked them if it was Republicans or Democrats practicing.
Casey has been described as warm and open, while her husband has been accused of lacking charm. They met at a golf driving range the University of Northern Florida and bonded over beer and the love of hitting the links
‘We both kind of shrugged it off. By the time we got back to the Hill when news broke we immediately called each other and said that guy was … we’ve got to report that,’ DeSantis told reporters at the time.
They had chatted with shooter James Hodgkinson.
DeSantis was third baseman for the Republican team. Hodgkinson had fired from the third baseline and took refuge behind the dugout there when Scalise’s security detail returned fire.
Dvorak remembers that after the shooting he saw a ‘more determined’ Casey. He said her demeanor changed and she gave the message that ‘this is real. We’re not just getting out of this fight.’
Casey stands behind her husband as he shakes hand with Donald Trump, now his Republican rival, during a rally in 2018
The couple arrive at the Booksellers area of the White House to attend a state dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2019
Friends remember a different Casey back when she was a young journalist, trying to make a name for herself.
But, even then, they knew she was a star.
‘She was just outgoing and beautiful and incredible. And one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,’ Nikki Kimbleton, a former colleague at independent TV station News4Jax in Jacksonville, told DailyMail.com.
‘She was so good. And she connected with the audience,’ she added. ‘Viewers loved her. She just, has something really, really special about her.’
As her husband greets those who will be casting their ballots in the primaries, her charm will be more vital than ever.
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