After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ easy victory for a second term on Tuesday, chatter about a possible 2024 presidential run as the GOP candidate hit new heights. If you’re a right-leaning media outlet like the New York Post, your next step is clear: Time to get to work humanizing this fella. This impulse is likely what brought us a Wednesday article headlined “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ not-so-secret political weapon—his wife, Casey.” The article features some predictable gushing over Casey, a mother of three, former news anchor, and recent cancer survivor, who, it probably doesn’t hurt, is quite pretty, too, bearing a bit of a resemblance to television presenter Maria Menounos.
The Daily Mail also chose to highlight Florida’s first lady this week, albeit with one of its trademark convoluted headlines, calling her an “emotional tuning fork” with “Nancy Reagan–style influence.” The National Review joined the fun with a blog post titled “Casey DeSantis Is the Greatest Political Mind in Modern History,” though I would be remiss not to note that it seemed to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Fox News’ website was a little less obvious in its fawning, running an article called “Who is Casey DeSantis? Get to know the First Lady of Florida.” Taken all together, the message is clear: Now that Gov. DeSantis is ascendant—maybe!—the soft-launching of his wife and marriage as a national preoccupation begins.
Though Casey DeSantis has only received a smattering of coverage in the national press before this week, the broad strokes of her background have trickled out over the years: The 42-year-old grew up in Ohio and attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where she was on the equestrian team. After graduating, she moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to work in broadcast journalism, where she was by all accounts successful—she became an anchor and earned an Emmy nomination. One oft-repeated detail that almost sounds too good to be true is that she met her future husband while golfing. They got married at Disney World (how could they have known it would become a future political foe?), and a few years later, in 2012, Ron was elected to Congress.
Casey apparently stopped working in journalism during Ron’s first gubernatorial run in 2018—can’t be an enemy of the people, right? Her political aspirations for herself and her husband are reportedly grand: Earlier this year, a former colleague of hers remembered an exchange with a shared colleague in Vanity Fair: “I remember I once said, ‘Casey wants to be a senator’s wife.’ And he said, ‘No, she fully intends on being a president’s wife.’ ”
Casey DeSantis herself was probably well aware that this week could mark a major moment in that quest when she chose her outfit for her husband’s Tuesday night speech at the Tampa Convention Center: She wore a sparkly yellow ball gown that wouldn’t have been out of place at a pageant or a prom. (An Insider reporter found it on sale at Shoshanna.) Her hair, too, evinced glamour: She wore it long, with no visible part, a high-maintenance look that requires its wearer to achieve mastery over human hair’s gravitational pull and natural want to part. It’s a bit ’60s, too: think Jackie Kennedy, Priscilla Presley.
Standing in front of an American flag with her three small children also in formalwear, Casey DeSantis knew exactly what she was hoping to evoke—though if it wasn’t clear to you, the Post article was more than happy to spell it out: “I hate to say this, but the whole family reminds me of the Kennedys, totally poised and comfortable in front of the camera,” one former Republican operative told the paper. Yes, he must have really hated saying that. (In praising her, this same operative took the opportunity to slag the Kardashians, saying how much classier than them Casey is, which is also funny, because with her dark hair and good looks, she could just as easily pass for one of them.)
Based on Tuesday’s appearance, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if DeSantis turned out to have a talent for image-making. Maybe this is why a certain former president has already recognized her as a formidable opponent: Earlier this week, Donald Trump said to the Wall Street Journal, regarding Gov. DeSantis, “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.” Something tells me this is far from the last we’ll be hearing of her.