Trump Trolls De Sandys For Changing The Pronunciation Of His Last Name

  • Trump’s latest Ron DeSandis troll has to do with how the GOP governor pronounces his name.
  • The former president’s taunt underscores how he is increasingly turning against a former ally.
  • In his 30s and 40s, DeSantis changed the way he says his last name.

Former President Donald Trump appears to have landed a new taunt against Florida Gov. Ron DeSandis, and it has to do with how he pronounces his name.

For months, Trump has been attacking DeSantis in hopes of challenging him for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. He’s been experimenting with aliases and, according to Politico, the campaign has amassed an opposition dossier against DeSantis, who has become a rising star in the party, but his personal life is not yet known.

In the latest dig issued Friday morning, Trump reposted a video of DeSantis on Truth Social. The video combined various appearances in which the governor was introduced by name. In the clips, DeSantis changes the pronunciation of his last name from “Dee-Santis” to “Deh-Santis”.

“Who changes the pronunciation of their last name in their 40s? Is there anything authentic about this guy?” asked a Twitter and Truth Social user who goes by @_johnnymaga. The user, who declined to share his real name for the story, told Insider in a Twitter message that he edited the video himself and was a Trump fan from Pennsylvania.

Trump shared the video without adding his own comment.

The former president has tapped into what has been a long-standing question in Florida. The name DeSantis is Italian, though the governor has not shared what part of Italy his ancestors immigrated from or whether they changed the spelling of the name when they met with immigration officials, as was sometimes the practice.

DeSantis used to pronounce his name “Dee-Santis” and his friends called him “D” when he was growing up in Dunedin, Florida, a small town near Tampa. According to a profile Insider wrote about Casey DeSantis, Florida’s future first lady also called him “D” when they were dating.

But in his 30s and 40s, the way DeSantis pronounced his last name changed. Now, the governor more often uses the soft “D” – “deh Santis” – when speaking in front of crowds, although he occasionally slips into the former pronunciation. Officials in Florida and politicians who introduce him at rallies also use the soft “D” sound.

“It’s been going on for a decade, maybe longer,” said Michael Binder, director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida, adding that he first noticed it when DeSantis was running for the U.S. House in 2012. running for office, the pronunciation of the name would even be changed in campaign ads, Binder said.

“He was turning,” Binder said. “It was Deh-Santis one time and Dee-Santis another time. I thought we’d settled on Deh-Santis, but every once in a while a Dee-Santis comes along. And it’s not in the media or by surrogates, but it comes out of the same his mouth, so it’s very confusing.”

The question of how to pronounce “DeSantis” made headlines in 2018 when Trump endorsed the then-U.S. congressman for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. At the time, DeSantis was not well known.

In 2018, the Tampa Bay Times suggested Casey DeSantis change DeSantis’ name, under a story headlined “Tomato, Tomahto? Dee-Santis, Deh-Santis”. Florida’s first lady was instrumental in her husband’s rise and in orchestrating his image and messaging.

“He prefers Dee-Santis,” Stephen Lawson, then DeSantis’ communications director, told the Tampa Bay Times.

Binder said the controversy has baffled him for years. “It’s an easy story to fix,” Binder said. “Say my name is X and stick to it.”

Trump is known for attacking people’s names, looks, and even habits. He has mocked DeSantis’ height and weight, nicknamed him “Tiny D” or “Meatball Ron,” (though the skipper’s slimming figure has made headlines).

In 2019 Trump said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s name was “unpronounceable” and offered the exaggerated pronunciation “Boot-EDGE-EDGE.”

“They call him ‘Mayor Pete’ because nobody can pronounce his last name,” Trump said during a rally in Florida.

Buttigieg says his last name is pronounced “BOOT-edge-edge.” But just like the apparent marital discord with the DeSantises, Buttigeig’s husband Chasten is using “boot-a-judge.”

For Trump, who has done his fair share — and has his name emblazoned on his skyscrapers, golf courses, properties and merchandise — the latest jab is far more prosaic than his earlier attacks on DeSantis.

Binder said he didn’t see Trump’s latest attack coming, but that he should and predicted Trump would use it at rallies.

“This is right in Trump’s wheelhouse,” he said. “That’s something that makes sense to make fun of. One thing that Trump is very good at is finding the absurdity of everybody. Ninety-nine percent of people know how to pronounce their last names. Going back and forth it’s not something most people do.”

Trump often shares his unfiltered thoughts on social media, grabbing headlines and distracting from other news. He is expected to face indictment Friday or early next week in connection with a hush payment made during his 2016 campaign to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

DeSantis’ team did not respond to a request for comment. Perhaps he will clear his name – and how to say it – at a later date.

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