Ron DeSantis, the Republican candidate for President, plays the family card in his fight against Trump

Ron DeSantis is leaning into an image that projects wholesome family values in an attempt to win over Iowa evangelicals who may be turned off by Trump's drama.

SALIX (Iowa) — It’s gotten a little bit. In the early days of Florida Governor. Casey DeSantis, Ron DeSantis ‘s wife, joins him on stage to discuss his bid for President . The stories begin to flow.

Casey is a mom who struggles with permanent marker scribbles on her furniture, and feels tired by the end of the day when her husband returns from work.

The couple’s actions are a clear example of family values for a conservative, evangelical GOP audience. Even without mentioning Donald Trump, the couple set up a clear contrast to the former President, who is facing charges related to a Porn Star payment, was found responsible for sexual abuse, and arrived in Iowa Thursday without his wife.

DeSantis’ team knows who it is playing for in Iowa and beyond. During a Miami retreat last week, campaign officials estimated 65% of Iowa GOP voters would be evangelical Christians. A person familiar with the DeSantis campaign’s early-state strategies said that the team is betting that this segment of the GOP is tired of the sexualized drama coming from a man who’s also being investigated for classified documents found at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago.

It is not easy to break the conservative evangelical support of Trump, as he is credited for having appointed three Supreme Court Justices who joined a conservative majority in overturning Roe v. Wade.

DeSantis’ team still sees this as a way to win early states.

The source who was familiar with the early strategy stated, “Clearly, there is an opportunity for us to reach out to evangelicals.” “It’s authentic. You cannot fake your family. You cannot fake your commitment towards your wife and children. When they realize it’s real, there’s a big difference. “Who as a Republican would have thought that we’d defend payoffs for porn stars?”

A donor asked DeSantis’ chief pollster Ryan Tyson about Trump’s sexual scandals, and how his campaign intended to contrast these with DeSantis’ “beautiful family”.

“I’ll respond this way: When I was about have my first child, a wise man once told me that 70% of being a great dad is showing-up,” Tyson said. This quote comes from an audio recording of the retreat , posted by Florida Politics. “The Governor’s going show up. “Iowans will be able to witness that. I believe you’ll see something very special when he arrives, when they meet with the first lady and the family.”

DeSantis is currently on his first trip since he launched and ed the campaign . He and his wife will be visiting three states that have early voting, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Casey DeSantis is a moderator for staged fireside talks (husband and spouse sat on the floor in a welding plant near Sioux City, Iowa on Wednesday morning), and he also serves as a featured speaker. A Cedar Rapids audience gave her two standing-ovations later on Wednesday.

The couple announced on Wednesday that two of their children will be joining them for the campaign. DeSantis’ oldest children, “The 6 and 5” (shorthand for their ages), will experience the presidential campaign first-hand this weekend in Des Moines at Sen. Joni Ernest’s “Roast and Ride”.

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Images of their children, including a family dinner the final week of school, or videos in which they are both holding children while speaking to the crowd, are also sprinkled throughout social media posts.

Casey DeSantis, who spoke to a group of 150 people at the Salix welding shop, said: “You’ll be able to witness some interesting moments.” “But, we’re bringing them because, frankly, it’s tough. These years are gone forever, right? These are the years that will be remembered for a lifetime.

DeSantis tells GOP audiences that he doesn’t have “time for drama” or “palace intrigue.” These are subtle references to Trump’s administration in which his daughter Ivanka, and son-in law Jared Kushner held prominent advisory roles. Ivanka Trump said that she would not be involved in her father’s campaign for 2024.

It’s his wife’s lack of presence that is most noticeable. Melania Trump did not accompany her husband at his Manhattan court appearance on charges related the pornstar payoff. She also didn’t attend a following-up speech in Mar-a-Lago, even though he boasted about having built his company with his family. Melania told Fox News in May that she supported her husband’s campaign for 2024 and it would be an honor to serve again as first lady.

DeSantis, aside from attempting to convey family values and relatability, could send subtle messages to Republicans about how, at 44 years old, he represents the next generation in the Republican Party, as opposed to Trump who is 76 or President Joe Biden who is 80.

In an interview, Dan Zumbach, an Iowa state Senator who has endorsed DeSantis in addition to introducing him to an audience of 500 people in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday night said that DeSantis family was a good example of Americans. “I think they are doing a fantastic job in presenting the American Story.” They know how to achieve it. We want the best for our grandchildren and these children.

Zumbach resisted when asked if he thought DeSantis’ focus on his family was a stark contrast to Trump.

He said, “Trump also has a wife and children.” “He’s just a bit older, but I don’t really see much difference.”

A Trump campaign spokesperson did not respond to a comment request.

Casey DeSantis apologized for her hoarseness at nearly all of the events in Iowa that she attended this week. She blamed it on the time she spent explaining to their 3-year old daughter why she couldn’t use permanent marker to color the walls and table of the dining room. In Salix, and in Cedar Rapids again, she was sure to mention that her parents had FaceTimed their children beforehand.

She said, “It is like trying to talk with a 3 year old while a hamster is on a wheel.”

The governor, at the welder’s shop, recalled his family’s recent return from an overseas trade mission.

Mason, our 3-year-old Mamie and our 6-year-old had T-ball practice at 9 am. Our first lady and our 6-year-old had dance class at 8 in the morning. He said, “We’re doing our thing, as parents, and I can tell you that I normally have a great deal of endurance but I was really dragging.”

He continued, “They’re all doing their own thing, they had a party for Madison, and then they had a recital.”

The first lady interrupted, “At the beach.” “So, sandy swimsuit, let’s get back into our leotard.”

It remains to be determined how the strategy will play with Iowa voters and caucus goers. The dozen voters interviewed during DeSantis events on Wednesday did not cite his family as the main reason for their interest in him. Some people said that they appreciated the focus they placed on their young family, and family values. However, they were careful to not interpret this as a contrast between Trump.

You can tell Trump loves his family. Morris Denson, a Marengo resident, said that DeSantis relied heavily on his family. Family meant a great deal to Trump, and it means a great deal to DeSantis. Everyone has a unique way of presenting it.”

Brenda Croker, after having seen the DeSantises at Salix, said that the effort to promote a family narrative was an “iffy strategy”. Brenda Croker was more impressed by the way Casey DeSantis explained her work in connecting single mothers to faith-based organisations.

Croker stated, “I believe that I should help people and also give them the gospel – helping them to get out of the situation they are in without government.”

Steve Deace, a conservative Iowa radio host, saw DeSantis’ character differences as an argument for him with evangelicals.

Deace explained, “If you are worried that your children and grandchildren will come to you one day and ask, ‘How is it possible that you looked the other direction when Trump behaved this way as president, but not when I was acting this way?’ then you should be concerned.” In the past few years, evangelical families have had a number of difficult conversations. If you can find someone who can do the same thing, but with a modicum self-control and a little bit of disruption, it’s not so hard to sell.

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