Critics of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are joking online that the now-presidential campaign dropout should have been forced to carry his campaign to term, a tongue-in-cheek reference to his support of restricting abortion access at a federal level.
DeSantis announced on Sunday that he was suspending his campaign and endorsing former President Donald Trump, saying “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”—a quote he attributed to Winston Churchill, but was in actuality a quote from a Budweiser ad in 1938.
Though the Florida governor had come in second place in the Iowa caucus, he had long been faltering in the polls and had recently pivoted his attention to South Carolina instead of New Hampshire, where former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley held a strong polling lead over him for second place.
His announcement was met with mockery from critics online, some of whom cracked jokes about his infamous, possibly secretly heeled boots.
Others reacted to the news with the abortion-inspired crack at DeSantis instead.
“Ron DeSantis should have to carry his Presidential run to term even if it threatens the life of his party,” quipped one user on X.
“Ron DeSantis should be forced to carry his presidential campaign to term,” posted another.
Someone replied: “To be fair, it hasnt been anywhere close to 6 weeks since the voting started.”
“Campaign conception starts at announcement, so it’s been at least a couple years,” another person responded.
The jokes are clear references to DeSantis’ stance on abortion, though some of the discourse played on beliefs that are held by some within the Republican party and not DeSantis in particular.
As governor of Florida, DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban into law, a stricter stance than the state’s current 15-week ban. The new law will go into effect if the state Supreme Court determines that the current 15-week ban is constitutional in an ongoing case.
The Florida law does permit exceptions to save the woman’s life and allows for abortions until 15 weeks for cases involving rape and incest, as long as there is documentation such as a police report to support the extension.
As a presidential candidate, DeSantis said he would support a 15-week ban at the federal level, though he did not go into specifics.