Memos obtained by POLITICO show that GOP Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis has been instructed to go on the offensive and show ’emotion’, in order to defend President Donald Trump and attack his opponent in a nationally televised debate.
The memos, distributed by his campaign manager Susie Wiles, urge DeSantis to outline a tax cut plan, establish his credibility as a veteran, and cast his opponent in a negative light. Wiles also underscored the need for DeSantis to go on the attack during the debate.
“Above all else, make sure you vigorously defend the President,” the memo stated. “In situations where you are attacked, don’t just respond calmly – ensure that you are demonstrating emotion and that you are counter-attacking. It is important that viewers see that you are not only willing to stand up for yourself, but you will also stand up for President Trump and what he has accomplished.”
The memos also made sure to remind DeSantis of the need to make sure his messaging is effective in order for him to leave a good impression on the viewers. The campaign encouraged him to “Be likable, charismatic, and relate to everyday Floridians.”
In response to the memos, DeSantis’ opponent, Andrew Gillum, released a statement in which he accused DeSantis of having a strategy based on attacking and insulting his opponents.
“Ron DeSantis’s campaign has shown us what they are willing to resort to in order to win. That he is being instructed to use personal insults and attacks on me instead of focusing on the issues that matter to Floridians is unacceptable,” Gillum said.