Ron DeSantis mocked after attributing Budweiser quote to Winston Churchill

@RonDeSantis/Twitter Tada Images/ShutterStock (Licensed)

Ron DeSantis ends 2024 bid with Winston Churchill ‘quote’ about ‘failure’—that’s from an old Budweiser ad

The International Churchill Society had previously debunked the quote's alleged origins.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Jan 22, 2024

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) bowed out of the 2024 presidential race on Sunday, but not before further embarrassing himself by misattributing a quote from Budweiser to Winston Churchill.

In a video address posted to X, DeSantis detailed his campaign’s efforts before closing with a quote that he alleged was made by the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“Winston Churchill once remarked, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.'” DeSantis said. “While this campaign has ended, the mission continues.

But it turns out that the quote, as outlined in a Community Note on DeSantis’ post, does not appear “in any of Winston Churchill’s books, articles, speeches and papers.”

The quote has been falsely attributed to Churchill over the years, so much so that the International Churchill Society, a non-profit dedicated to the leader’s legacy, has repeatedly had to correct those who use it.

“Not only did Churchill never say those words—he never said the similar words more usually attributed to him, which are: ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,'” the non-profit wrote in 2013. “We base this on careful research in the canon of fifty million words by and about Churchill, including all of his books, articles, speeches, and papers.”

Even more embarrassingly, the phrase appeared in a print advertisement from the beer manufacturer Budweiser back in 1938, two years before Churchill became prime minister. It remains unclear if the quote appeared elsewhere prior to the beer ad.

“They found contentment in the thrill of action, knowing that success was never final and failure never fatal,” the ad said. “It was courage that counted.”

The announcement from DeSantis was soon bombarded on X with jokes regarding the misattributed quote. Many also noted the irony of the quote coming from Budweiser given the current boycott among conservatives over the beer manufacturer’s decision to work with a trans activist.

“Not Churchill. A Budweiser Advertisement from 1938,” one user wrote. “You’re quoting a beer ad.”

The decision to end his campaign came shortly after the Iowa caucuses, where DeSantis trailed well behind former President Donald Trump but edged out his rival for second, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as well.

The last mistake in his doomed campaign comes after a series of gaffes in his presidential run, from wearing boots that may have aided in his height to employing a staffer who posted videos with pro-Nazi imagery.

And despite Trump regularly attacking DeSantis with nicknames such as “Ron DeSanctimonious,” the Florida governor chose to endorse the former president at the end of his speech.

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*First Published: Jan 22, 2024, 9:57 am CST