Former President Donald Trump is asking the question a lot of people are: how do you pronounce his main rival’s last name?
In a post on Truth Social on Wednesday night, Trump took a shot at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), writing, “Have you heard that ‘Rob’ DeSanctimonious wants to change his name, again. He is demanding that people call him DeeeSantis, rather than DaSantis.”
“Actually, I like ‘Da’ better, a nicer flow, so I am happy he is changing it. He gets very upset when people, including reporters, don’t pronounce it correctly. Therefore, he shouldn’t mind, DeSanctimonious?” he added.
“…Therefore, he shouldn’t mind, DeSanctimonious?” pic.twitter.com/gSaF7u6OKM— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) June 1, 2023
Why Trump has decided to call DeSantis “Rob,” instead of Ron is unclear. But after the governor’s campaign launch, there is a question about what the correct pronunciation of his name is.
As Axios notes, the Florida governor has pronounced his last name as “Dee-Santis” at some times and “Deh-Santis” at others.
Meanwhile, his wife and a super PAC supporting him pronounce his name “Deh-Santis.” And his campaign has not shared what the correct pronunciation is.
MSNBC’s Willie Geist said on “Morning Joe” Thursday, “It is odd, I have to say, that the DeSantis campaign won’t confirm one way or the other how to say his name. We’re happy to say it however it’s meant to be said. But we’ve heard so many different versions of it, and it goes back and forth from one event to the other.”
“Genuinely not quite sure how to say the governor’s name,” he added.
Is the pronunciation of someone’s name a massive scandal that would sink a presidential campaign? No, but it does seem a little odd his campaign cannot put out a basic piece of information about the candidate.
And it can lead to accusations or theories about why there seems to be a difference in the pronunciation — such as that DeSantis is trying to find a way to make his name sound better to voters than the actual pronunciation.
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) knocked the different versions as he told Axios it is a “really weird thing to change at the last minute.”
“People flip-flop and change their positions on things, but how you say your name is not one of them. It’s not negotiable!” he added.
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told the outlet, “Ron DeSantis is a phony who can’t decide how to pronounce his name. If you can’t get your name right, how can you lead a country?”
It may seem like a silly or petty thing to focus on.
But it could be a subtle way of creating the question for voters: If someone cannot decide something as basic as how to say their name, what important issues are they going to flip-flop on?