Ron DeSantis Thinks His Wife, Casey, Should ‘Be on Every Fashion Magazine’

Casey DeSantis is the woman who's been wearing gloves and capes to casual events like it's the pre-Civil Rights era.

Ron DeSantis Thinks His Wife, Casey, Should ‘Be on Every Fashion Magazine’
Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis at the State of the State address in March 2023. Screenshot:Instagram/Casey DeSantis (Fair Use)

Now that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has finally declared he’s running for president, new outlets are zeroing in on his closest advisor: His wife, Casey, a former TV anchor who has no outside political experience and who simply loves to wear gloves and capes to random casual events. Recent stories in Politico and the New York Times painted her as in over her head when it comes to a national campaign, with even supporters worrying that the influence she has over the governor could backfire.

“Meatball Ron,” to borrow Trump’s nickname for him, thinks this is all very unfair, and he complained about it on Mark Levin’s radio show last week. Levin set him up by claiming incredulously that “the corrupt media” was doing something it “never did to Michelle Obama or Jill Biden—they’re attacking your wife for crying out loud!”

DeSantis responded, “If she were a Democrat, she’d be on every fashion magazine. They would be making her [out] to be the biggest deal. But because we’re conservative, we know that that’s not what will happen.”

The comments come around 1:37 here, but there’s a clip of the moment on Twitter as well:

The thing is, fashion magazines famously care about fashion, and Casey is not fashionable so much as she is trying way too hard to sartorially perform the role of FLOTUS. This is a woman who wore to a daytime event at the Florida capitol a hot pink off-the shoulder dress with roses, white gloves, and white pumps. A woman who wore a tacky gold one-shoulder pageant dress to Ron’s election night party. A woman who tried so, so hard to conjure Jackie O comparisons with her inauguration cape look.

Ron could have merely said Casey deserved to be on the cover of “women’s magazines,” but conservatives are still reeling over the fact that (actually stylish) Michelle Obama was a fashion world darling, while the same publications mostly ignored Melania Trump.

Times fashion columnist Vanessa Friedman wrote that the couple is trying to project “Camelot-meets-Mar-a-Lago,” and Casey is using her body in this effort to make Ron look the part. The capes and gloves are an attempt to project royalty.

“She understands the image game and how to play it,” Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist, told Friedman. But does she? She’s constantly overdressing at events where she’s photographed next to other people who aren’t doing that, and it looks comical. As House of Cards costume designer Tom Broecker told the Times, Casey is “dressing to be either princess of the world or first lady.”

I’m not saying it’s not effective for a certain segment of voter who thinks she “looks classy” and “would make a great First Lady ”—sentiments I heard from conservatives online after I first wrote about her clothes in February.

But it’s also wise to pair Casey’s clothes with Ron’s current slogan: The Great American Comeback. Back to what, or when, exactly? Casey is in fact signaling to the couple’s preferred vision of America: the 1950s. The time before the Civil Rights Act, before the Voting Rights Act, before school integration, before the approval of birth control pills, before Roe v. Wade, and before women could get credit cards in their own name.

Some people may be making fun of how poorly the gloves fit, but that’s a distraction from the overall project. Writer and antifascist Gwen Snyder said on Twitter that “it’s about gesturing to a very specific idealized vision of a national past, a past that exists only in fantasy.”

It’s telling that on the same day as the State of the State address with the pink rose dress, Casey and Ron welcomed the president of authoritarian Hungary to the capitol.

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A post shared by Casey DeSantis (@caseydesantis)

Casey may be trying to manufacture Camelot, and Ron will continue to decry liberal bias in fashion media, but we see exactly what’s going on here.

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