Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis and Kim Reynolds Sit Down for Joint Interviews

November 06, 2023

"I believe that Ron is the right person for the right job. And I believe he's going to win."

Des Moines, IA - Ron DeSantis and Kim Reynolds joined Dasha Burns and Brianne Pfannenstiel for sit-down interviews that aired on NBC and ran in print in the Des Moines Register. See below.

Watch interview Here:

LESTER: As the GOP presidential candidates prepared to meet on our stage here in Miami on Wednesday, one of them, Ron DeSantis, is getting a major boost as Iowa's governor makes a rare endorsement. Both spoke with Dasha Burns.

DASHA: Tonight, Governor Kim Reynolds explaining why she's breaking with the Iowa tradition of staying neutral and endorsing Ron DeSantis.

GOV REYNOLDS: I just felt like I couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer. We have too much at stake. I truly believe that he is the right person to get this country back on track.

DASHA: It is arguably the biggest endorsement of the primary and a much-needed win for the DeSantis campaign, which has invested significant time and resources here.

GOV DESANTIS: This one's obviously very meaningful because Kim has proven to be a great leader that Iowans love.

DASHA: With two months to go, former President Trump maintains a dominant 27-point lead among likely Iowa caucus goers, with DeSantis and Nikki Haley tied for second. For those who criticize you and say, why are you endorsing a guy who's been slipping in the polls, Trump's 30-points ahead, what do you say to those critics?

GOV REYNOLDS: I don't base my decision on polls. I take a look at who I believe is the right person for the right job. I believe that Ron is the right person for the right job. And I believe he's going to win.

DASHA: Do you worry about the risk that she's taking by endorsing you?

GOV DESANTIS: No, I don't. I mean, first of all, I respect the fact that that's not her calculation, which is rare amongst elected officials. I've had people come to me and say, you know, that they endorsed him because of the threats and everything like that. If you can look in the mirror and say you did what you think is right for the right reasons, then just let the chips fall where they may.

DASHA: Mr. Trump was quick to attack Governor Reynolds for her endorsement, calling her America's most unpopular governor. What is your relationship like now with the former president?

GOV REYNOLDS: Well, you know, I assume it's, it's -- well, I don't know. I really can't tell you. That's probably a question for him.

DASHA: Have you spoken with him recently?

GOV REYNOLDS: No, I haven't.

DASHA: When's the last time?

GOV REYNOLDS: Probably the last time he called to ask if I would endorse him, and I said I wasn't at this point.

DASHA: The question now if her endorsement of DeSantis will make a difference.

IA VOTER: I just hope that it'll help persuade some of those voters to take a look at him closer.

IA VOTER: Does it impact my vote? I don't know for sure at this point. He's been on my radar, so I, maybe I'll feel like I know a little bit more after the debate.

DASHA: Do you believe Trump can't win?

GOV REYNOLDS: Yeah, I believe he can't win. And I believe Ron can.

DASHA: If DeSantis wants to prove Trump is beatable, he'll have to do it here. Dasha Burns, NBC News, Des Moines, Iowa.

Gov. Kim Reynolds endorses Ron DeSantis, says US can't gamble on another Trump candidacy
Des Moines Register
Brianne Pfannenstiel

Ron DeSantis and Kim Reynolds also joined Brianne Pfannenstiel of the Des Moines Register for a sit-down interview. Read the article below.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president, she told the Des Moines Register Monday, because the country is at an "unprecedented" moment and Republicans can't gamble on another Donald Trump candidacy.

"We are living in unprecedented times and this country is in trouble," Reynolds said, sitting next to DeSantis at her Terrace Hill home in Des Moines ahead of an evening rally where she'll make the endorsement publicly.

"I cannot believe how it has declined over just the short time under President Biden," she said. "And we're resilient. We'll be able to come back from this. But if we don't win this next election, we're done."

Reynolds, who had been a Trump ally when he held the White House, said she appreciates the former president's accomplishments but believes it's time to move on.

"I don't think he can win," she said simply.

Instead, she's throwing her support behind DeSantis, a fellow governor who she said has an admirable track record of accomplishment in Florida that he would bring to the nation as a whole.

"I believe he's the candidate that can win," she said. "And we also not only need somebody that can win, but we need somebody that has the skill and the resolve, which he clearly does, to reverse the madness that we see happening across this country."

Currently, Trump leads the latest Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll with 43% support among likely Republican caucusgoers. DeSantis is tied for second place with former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley at 16%.

Reynolds said she believes DeSantis can win the Iowa caucuses, and she hopes to help move across the finish line.

DeSantis told the Register that Reynolds' endorsement is meaningful, not only because of the star power she brings to the race, but because he believes Iowa and Florida represent the future of the party.

"It's meaningful to me, because this is really the model I think that the Republican Party can use to succeed going forward," DeSantis said of Reynolds' endorsement. "What Kim's done here, what we've done in Florida, Brian Kemp in Georgia --- these are states that used to be viewed as very competitive, and we've been able to win really, really big victories. And I think it's because of leadership and then results."

Trump has already lashed out at Reynolds in a string of social media posts, accusing her of being "disloyal" and arguing her endorsement of DeSantis is "the end of her political career."

DeSantis defended Reynolds against Trump and his loyalists, some of whom have called her a RINO, or a "Republican in name only."

"I think what some of these influencers will say is, if you don't kiss the ring for Trump for 2024, then somehow you're a RINO," he said. "You have some people that have horrendous records, but if they kiss the ring, somehow they're great. Like, that is not good posture. Because we're in this, not for personality, we're in it to deliver results for people. ... And so I think that when Trump is attacking really strong, accomplished Republicans for self-serving reasons, that's a dead end for the Republican Party."

Reynolds agreed. "That is destructive to the party," she said.

It's rare, though not unprecedented, for Iowa's top elected officials to weigh in on behalf of candidates ahead of the caucuses.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley endorsed his good friend, U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, in 1988 and 1996, and former Gov. Terry Branstad encouraged Iowans to caucus for anyone but U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2016.

But it's far more common for Iowa's high-profile political figures to take a hands-off approach. Grassley and others have pledged to remain neutral this cycle.

Reynolds, too, had initially ruled out endorsing anyone ahead of the Iowa Caucuses, saying she preferred to welcome the full slate of candidates into the state. But, more recently, she opened the door to the possibility.

She said Monday that she believes she fulfilled her duty by welcoming all the candidates to the state and helping give them a platform to reach Iowans.

"For seven months I did that --- attended a lot of events, made a lot of phone calls, helped talk about events to go to and to be in front of," she said.

Ultimately, though, she said she felt called to step in.

"As a mother and as a grandmother and as an American, I just felt like I couldn't stand on the sidelines any longer," she said. "We have too much at stake. Our country is in a world of hurt. The world is a powder keg. And I think it's just really important that we put the right person in office."

She said the timing of her endorsement is less about strategy. She decided she wanted to endorse, and as soon as she did she wanted to make it public.

"Once I was in, I was all in," she said.

Reynolds and DeSantis have charted similar political paths, growing their national profiles amid the COVID-19 pandemic when they led Republican states in pushing back against shutdowns and mask mandates while leaning into controversial culture war issues.

Both governors have signed laws prohibiting school instruction in LGBTQ topics and offering state-funded private school scholarships to all families. Both governors have also banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy --- Trump called the Florida version of that bill "a terrible mistake."

Reynolds said she remembers getting a phone call from DeSantis in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both had made the decision to send kids back to classrooms and were facing a wave of backlash over a decision they believe now was the right one.

The pair talked about "what we were going through" and "having the moral conviction to do the right thing when the right thing is not easy to do," Reynolds said.

More recently, when Reynolds' husband, Kevin, was diagnosed with cancer, she got another phone call from DeSantis, and his wife, Casey, who previously battled breast cancer. DeSantis offered to connect Reynolds to doctors, and Casey came to visit.

"Not only is he tough and disciplined, but he's compassionate and cares," Reynolds said.

DeSantis has previously suggested that Reynolds could be a good running mate during his presidential bid. He said Monday that he continues to believe she would be a good pick, but he perhaps underestimated the number of Iowans who want to keep her in the state.

"Bottom line is she's qualified for the positions that have been mentioned," he said. "But I also respect Iowans in terms of their views on some of this stuff too."

Reynolds said governors continue to play a big role in guiding the country forward, and DeSantis would need strong governors if he takes office.

"I'm focused on, really, on this next cycle, and I'm focused on serving Iowans and getting this guy elected," she said. "That's what I'm focused on."

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis and Kim Reynolds Sit Down for Joint Interviews Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/367772

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