Two House Republicans who were involved with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ debate prep during his 2018 campaign denounced Sunday’s leak of debate prep videos in a pair of tweets.
Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who have already enthusiastically said they support Donald Trump for president, said the leaked footage released by ABC News is an example of petty politics.
‘I ran the Desantis Debate Prep in 2018,’ Gaetz tweeted. ‘Though I prefer Trump for President (bigly), the release of these videos by the person operating the camera is disloyal hackery that I do not abide. Staffers who leak on the candidates they’ve done work for deserve the reputations they get.’
‘I was on the DeSantis Debate prep team,’ Donalds said. ‘These tapes should not have been leaked. It’s low class.’
The leaked tapes to ABC show DeSantis questioning how to express his differences with then-President Trump without angering his base – a possible preview to the Florida governor’s expected run for the presidency in 2024 against Trump.
‘Is there any issue upon which you disagree with President Trump?’ DeSantis was asked by Gaetz in a mock debate for governor.
‘I have to figure out how to do this,’ DeSantis replied.
‘Obviously there is because, I mean, I voted contrary to him in the Congress,’ DeSantis continued. ‘I have to frame it in a way that’s not going to piss off all his voters.’
Dave Abrams, a spokesman for DeSantis’ political team, dismissed the leak in a statement to Fox News Digital.
‘Another swing and a miss from Disney-funded ABC,’ Abrams said. ‘The best their propaganda machine could do with the 2.5 hours of leaked footage is further [proof] that Ron DeSantis is unwilling to be anyone but his authentic self – no matter the politics.’
DeSantis said in the tapes he would make clear he supports Trump’s agenda. The then-congressman won the endorsement of Trump for his governor bid.
‘If I have a disagreement, I talk to him in private,’ he said.
Fox News’ Hanna Panreck contributed to this report.