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DeSantis deemed “uniquely unlikable” by ex-GOP rep. after sugar-shaming kid

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been called “uniquely unlikable” by a former Republican colleague after seemingly shaming a child for enjoying a frozen treat.

David Jolly, who served in the U.S. House alongside DeSantis from 2013 to 2017, said during an interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace on Friday that the governor’s 2024 GOP presidential primary campaign was in “free fall” due in part to his personality.

Wallace highlighted a video showing the governor interacting with a child at a county fair in Iowa on Thursday. DeSantis can be heard asking the young girl what she was eating. She responded “an ICEE,” prompting the governor to briskly reply, “that’s probably a lot of sugar” before moving on.

“A lot of sugar?” Wallace said incredulously after playing the video clip. “He’s like, sugar-shaming, ICEE-shaming a child? Has he never been to a fair? What is wrong with him?”

Ron DeSantis Uniquely Unlikeable Republicans Sugar Kids
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is pictured on Friday during a presidential campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa. The governor’s former Republican U.S. House colleague David Jolly called him “uniquely unlikable.”
SERGIO FLORES/AFP

“I mean, what politician doesn’t insult children along the campaign trail, right?” Jolly responded. “There is the old saying in politics, you shake hands and kiss babies, but don’t confuse the two. Ron DeSantis is exactly the type of candidate that could confuse the two. He is not a retail politician. He’s a uniquely unlikable person on the campaign trail.”

“I think at the root of his entire free fall is, he was built up coming off a 20-point win in Florida with all the money in the world, told ‘you’re going to be the next president,'” he continued. “And then he got on the campaign trail and people said, ‘I don’t like this guy and he’s insulting kids.'”

Jolly went on to say that DeSantis “has a hard lesson coming to him,” predicting that he would “go from the hottest hand in American politics to the coolest pretty quickly.”

Newsweek reached out for comment to the DeSantis campaign via its website on Friday.

The sugar-shaming incident also raised eyebrows on social media. Some noted that the weather was particularly hot when DeSantis visited the fair, with highs in the area having reached over 90 degrees during the day.

“Poor little kid is just trying to enjoy an Icee on a hot day and gets a health lecture from Ron DeJoyful,” tweeted former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski.”A guy who lives on fried chicken sandwiches and chocolate pudding dropping weight on Ozempic.”

“Desantis irrationally goes after Disney and makes a goofy comment to a kid eating an icee when it’s blistering hot,” @jloete2 tweeted. “Dude legit hates fun.”

“This is the kind of joy Ron DeSantis exuded when he was in Congress,” tweeted @MEPFuller. “The personality of a closet door.”

Others defended DeSantis, with some suggesting that his implied dietary advice to the child was sound.

“Everyone roasting DeSantis for this icee comment, but honestly, it’s one of the only sensical things this dude’s ever said,” @MarissaPayne tweeted. “I mean, that *is* a lot of sugar!”

”He said an icee has a lot of sugar,'” the “Ron DeSantis People” account tweeted alongside an image of an alligator wearing a suit and holding a sign reading “Don’t Care! Still Voting DeSantis.”

Regardless of the likability of DeSantis as a candidate, polls indicate that his presidential primary campaign continues to face a massive uphill battle against former President Donald Trump.

An average of recent polls from RealClearPolitics shows that the governor is trailing Trump by 34 points. A survey released this week also indicated that DeSantis’ approval rating has reached its lowest point ever.



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