Leaked Footage of DeSantis 2018 Debate Prep. Just ‘Low Class’ Nothingburger

Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz and Byron Donalds came to Governor Ron DeSantis’s defense after footage of his debate preparation during his 2018 run for Governor was leaked.

Governor Ron DeSantis State of the State

The video, exclusively obtained by ABC News, cuts between multiple instances of DeSantis discussing how to respect then-President Donald Trump while being honest about points of disagreement. This is an issue DeSantis will be forced to grapple with again during a potential 2024 run for the White House.

Clips showed DeSantis questioning if guns were an issue that required commentary from him and that he didn’t “think the NRA is quite the boogeyman the Democrats think it is.” Another clip showed an adviser reminding DeSantis to maintain likability and not appear overly abrasive.

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“Is there any issue upon which you disagree with President Trump?” Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked DeSantis in another piece of footage of the mock debate sessions.

“I have to figure out how to do this. Obviously, there is because, I mean, I voted contrary to him in the Congress. I have to frame it in a way that’s not going to piss off all his voters.”

In the following clip, DeSantis outlined his strategy for maintaining that balance.


“What I do is I do what I think is right. I support his agenda in terms of what he’s been able to do. If I have a disagreement, I talk to him in private.”

Florida Representative and conservative firebrand Matt Gaetz came to DeSantis’ defense, ripping whoever leaked the footage for “disloyal hackery.”

“I ran the Desantis Debate Prep in 2018. Though I prefer Trump for President (bigly), the release of these videos by the person operating the camera is disloyal hackery that I do not abide. Staffers who leak on the candidates they’ve done work for deserve the reputations they get.”
Fellow Florida Representative Byron Donalds banged the same drum, calling the leak “low class.”

“I was on the DeSantis Debate prep team. These tapes should not have been leaked. It’s low class.”

“If I have a disagreement with him I talk to him in private.” This is called RESPECT and how a Naval Officer handles disagreements w his commanding officer. Not by running his mouth like a child on social media. This is supposed to make DeSantis look bad?”

Even Matt Gaetz agreed, clarifying that he does not think DeSantis said anything wrong but that the leak was reprehensible anyway.

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