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Ron DeSantis' wife Casey, who just beat cancer, attacked in scathing Politico hit piece

By Sarah May on
 May 22, 2023

In the wake of a feature story on Florida first lady, mother, and cancer survivor Casey DeSantis that some described as a “hit piece,” Politico is facing significant backlash, not just from conservatives, but also from at least one liberal commentator who decried what she alleged as the sexist tone of the article, as Fox News reports.

Politico's story on Mrs. DeSantis, which takes aim at what the author seems to believe is her outsized influence on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis comes just days ahead of what is expected to be the launch of his 2024 presidential campaign.

Unflattering Portrayal

The story at issue is the work of Politico senior staff writer Michael Krause and is entitled “The Casey DeSantis Problem: 'His Greatest Asset and His Greatest Liability,” and in it, the author casts a critical eye on the role the governor's wife has played in his career and how it may shape his political future.

Krause paints a picture of Mrs. DeSantis as a high-profile political spouse who, while cultivating an appealing public image and serving as an advocate in areas such as flood relief and mental health concerns, wields far too much power behind the scenes.

“For some time now, [Casey DeSantis has] been seen mostly and by many as an absolute superstar of a political spouse...[f]or nearly as long, too, though, others who have worked with her or around her have nodded more quietly to the downsides of the starring part that she plays,” says Kruse.

To illustrate that point, the Politico journalist offers quotes and insights from some who have worked closely with the couple in recent years, though many of those sources are kept anonymous.

Incendiary Takes

Krause quotes one GOP lobbyist as declaring Mrs. DeSantis to be “the power behind the throne” and another who labeled her the “tip of the spear.”

Dan Eberhart, a prominent supporter of and donor to DeSantis was said to have characterized the governor's wife as “both his biggest asset and his biggest liability.”

Included in Krause's piece were opinions from former Republican operatives such as MSNBC's David Jolly as well as Rick Wilson, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, with the former labeling Mrs. DeSantis an “ice queen” and the latter opining, “Never cross Casey.”

Krause even defers to someone not typically afforded a great deal of credibility by Politico, namely, former Donald Trump associate Roger Stone, who analogized Casey DeSantis to the manipulative, power-grabbing Shakespearean character of Lady MacBeth, suggesting that she may ultimately be “an agent of her husband's undoing.”

Hypocrisy Alleged

As Fox News pointed out, Krause's outlet has not always taken such a negative view of political wives taking such an active role in their husbands' endeavors, blasting what senior editor Katelyn Fossett derided as “[t]he return of the Lady Macbeth trope” as recently as last fall in reference to criticisms of first lady Jill Biden and Giselle Fetterman, wife of Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA).

Underscoring that apparent double standard was conservative commentator and Fox News personality Mark Levin, who said on social medial, “Media lowlifes just cannot control themselves. Michelle Obama, Jill Biden treated like saints,” adding, “[t]he media hate smart, strong, professional Republican women who are also loving mothers and wives, and who support their husbands.”

Radio host Erick Erickson mused, “Politico uses Roger Stone to cast aspersions on Ron DeSantis's wife. Hard to imagine them writing a story like this on Jill Biden or Michelle Obama.”

The aforementioned critiques are arguably well-taken, considering an NBC News profile of Mrs. Biden from last fall which lauded the fact that “her input is essential in some of the weightiest political and personnel decisions the 46th president confronts,” a perch of power similar to the one ascribed to Mrs. DeSantis by Politico in derogatory fashion, yet apparently somehow far more appropriate.

Bipartisan Disdain

The tenor of the Politico piece was not just derided by conservative voices, with a number of notable liberal commentators also weighing in with their palpable irritation.

Isaac Schorr of Mediaite said of the article, “If the closest you can get to someone's inner circle is his avowed rivals, it's not a story you have, it's a press release.”

Joan Walsh, contributor to the staunchly progressive outlet, The Nation, joined the chorus of those slamming the Politico piece, even in light of her personal animus toward the Florida governor.

Walsh wrote of Krause's article that it was “[n]aked in its sexism while insisting that it's in fact giving the woman in question agency, credit, attention” and added that it “seemed like the worst sort of Beltway journalism, answering a question other journalists are gossiping about but nobody can quite answer,” while still adding her two-cents about what she called “the gargantuan right-wing forces that our disabling our democracy.”