desantis lgbtq ad


DeSantis’ viral anti-LGBTQ ad was created by his campaign—not an outside fan

The video was taken down by the original poster amid the backlash.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Jul 24, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) stoked controversy after his campaign promoted an ad in late June that attacked former President Donald Trump’s past support of the LGBTQ+ community.

The original poster deleted the video, however, the DeSantis War Room account’s tweet sharing it is still up.

The controversial video showed Trump saying he would “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens” and highlighted his decision to allow a transgender model to compete in a Miss Universe competition when he owned the pageant, in contrast to DeSantis’ recent record, which he is using to run against Trump from the right in the 2024 Republican party.

The video included a critic calling DeSantis’ laws restricting transgender rights as “draconian.” The Florida governor has signed a slew of anti-trans bills, including a ban gender-affirming care for minors, a ban on children attending drag shows, and school curriculum reforms restricting the inclusion of LGBTQ themes.

It also compared DeSantis favorably to fictional serial killer Patrick Bateman.

But the video didn’t come from a DeSantis fan outside of the campaign as the initial post may have indicated and fans of DeSantis implied as outrage grew.

Instead, according to a New York Times report published Sunday, that video was actually “more of a self-inflicted wound than was previously known.”

“A DeSantis campaign aide had originally produced the video internally, passing it off to an outside supporter to post it first and making it appear as if it was generated independently, according to a person with knowledge of the incident,” the Times reported.

Despite receiving criticism from both sides of aisle, DeSantis defended the premise of the video as “totally fair game,” arguing that Trump has flip flopped on LGBTQ-related issues.

The video also sparked consternation within DeSantis’ anti-trans coalition. After it ran, prominent members of the pro-DeSantis’ organization Gays Against Groomers said they would leave the group.

The Florida governor has consistently trailed Trump in Republican primary polls. A survey conducted in mid-July shows Trump leading DeSantis by 26 points.

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*First Published: Jul 24, 2023, 8:38 am CDT