After months of speculation, it is expected that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) will officially announce that he is running for president in 2024 later this week. But the media seems to be getting a jump start on attacking the GOP hopeful. On Friday, Politico published a lengthy article titled “The Casey DeSantis Problem: ‘His Greatest Asset and His Greatest Liability’” going after the governor’s wife via quotes and anecdotes from anonymous staffers and political foes.
On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Emily Jashinsky, culture editor at The Federalist, and Eliana Johnson, co-host of the Ink Stained Wretches podcast, to discuss the hit piece, the media’s double standard when it comes to covering Republicans and Democrats, and what it says about Gov. DeSantis’ chances in 2024.
Politico Goes After Casey DeSantis
Politician’s spouses always receive – fairly or unfairly – some degree of attention, but it is certainly noteworthy to see such an in-depth report about an undeclared candidate’s better half. Megyn described the piece by Politico senior staff writer Michael Kruse as an “enormous takedown” of the 42-year-old mom of three.
The former television personality has long played a role in her husband’s campaigns and administration, which is part of what Politico seems to take issue with. “They’re so transparent in their hate,” Megyn noted as she read excerpts from the piece.
“For some time now she’s been seen mostly and by many as an absolute superstar of a political spouse, a not so ‘secret weapon,’ even something like his saving grace — an antidote for her sometimes awkward husband…
The more complicated but also more instructive reality is that she is neither the fawning caricature she’s made out to be in conservative and even at times mainstream media nor a Shakespearean villain… She can ameliorate some of the effects of his idiosyncrasies. She can also accentuate, even exacerbate, his hubris, and his paranoia, and his vaulting ambition — because those are all traits that they share. He wouldn’t be where he is without her. He might not get to where he wants to go because of her.”– Michael Kruse, Politico
In the article, Kruse says many people would only speak anonymously “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.” An unnamed staffer referred to Casey as “the scorekeeper,” which Megyn failed to see the problem with. “Hello, we all are when it comes to our husbands,” she said. “That’s how every good spouse is.”
Literary references also abound. “And there’s – of course – a comparison to Lady Macbeth in here notwithstanding Politico’s position in November 2022 that comparing women in politics… to Lady Macbeth is sexist,” Megyn lamented. “Yet it appears I think twice in this article about Casey DeSantis, so really it’s only sexist if it’s against Democrats. That’s generally how it works.”
The Double Standard
When you consider the fawning media coverage given to Democratic spouses First Lady Jill Biden and Gisele Fetterman, wife of Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), it’s hard not to see the hypocrisy. “I thought we were supposed to celebrate empowered women and the men who take their counsel and listen to them,” Johnson said. “But of course now that it is a conservative Republican doing it, this is problematic… She has sinister motives.”
As Jashinsky explained, the behavior that is celebrated in liberal women is chastised in conservatives. “They live for the conflict and they see the conflict as inherently newsworthy when it’s against a Republican,” she said. “But if it’s against a Democrat, they see what’s newsworthy as her not being devious or sinister but her being in control and smart and strategic. It’s just a fascinating side by side – particularly the Fetterman example.”
Johnson agreed. “I actually got kind of a Nancy Reagan vibe from reading this article in that she’s kind of an enforcer,” she said. “I don’t know when that became a bad thing.” What’s more is that Johnson believes the outlet failed to call out the attacks against Casey that would not go unchecked had they been brought against someone on the left. “It is Politico’s job to say that the tropes emanating from DeSantis’s political opponents towards Casey DeSantis are sexist,” she explained. “They put none of that context around this, and it’s offensive. They would never ever allow a Democratic spouse to be attacked in this way without contextualizing.”
What This Means for 2024
Thus far, the polling does not seem to be in Gov. DeSantis’ favor, and the media would have you believe former President Donald Trump has all but secured the GOP nomination. This type of article, however, proves that the governor poses a threat. “Everyone wants to write him off as ‘no way can’t get past Trump’ – especially the mainstream media because they want to run against Trump,” Megyn said. “But the fact that they’re now spending some ink trying to take down his lovely wife tells me they’re scared of this guy, his beautiful family, what he might represent, and how it might go if he manages to find a way around Trump.”
You can check out the full interview with Jashinsky and Johnson by tuning in to episode 556 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.