Ron DeSantis Slammed For Writing He Was 'Culturally' Raised in the Midwest, But 'Geographically' in Tampa

In his new memoir, the Florida governor—who was raised in Tampa—writes, "culturally my upbringing reflected the working-class communities in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio"

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Ron DeSantis. Photo: Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty

Social media users are mocking Ron DeSantis after the Florida governor wrote in his book that he was "geographically raised in Tampa Bay," but "culturally" in the midwest.

"I was geographically raised in Tampa Bay," DeSantis writes in his new memoir, The Courage to Be Free, per NBC News, "but culturally my upbringing reflected the working-class communities in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio — from weekly church attendance to the expectation that one would earn his keep. This made me God-fearing, hard-working and America-loving."

DeSantis was born and raised in Florida though his parents are from Pennsylvania and Ohio, as noted in his book.

But critics of the governor called the remark "pandering," with some social media users suggesting he was merely trying to court voters outside of Florida, ahead of a widely rumored presidential run.

"I was geographically raised in Tampa Bay, but culturally my upbringing reflected the royal court at Versailles, with outstanding wigs, elegant discourse, and utter disregard for the seething class oppression necessary to sustain it," The Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson tweeted of DeSantis' claim.

Florida Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani echoed those remarks, writing: "I was geographically raised in Orlando with a cultural perspective that allows me to easily detect BS when I see it."

Some critics decried DeSantis' allusion to being born one thing but identifying as something else—particularly as he has waged culture wars with the transgender community.

Others noted the seeming coincidence of DeSantis being "culturally" raised in two of the most important swing states in the country—particularly as the publication of his new book appears to be the latest sign that he is mulling a 2024 presidential campaign.

A DeSantis presidential campaign would pit him directly against former President Donald Trump, who announced his candidacy last year.

Trump has said in recent weeks that DeSantis — then a member of the House of Representatives — came to him and "begged" for an endorsement for governor, with "tears coming down from his eyes."

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But in his own telling of the events, DeSantis writes that he simply asked Trump for the endorsement, but "was not holding my breath."

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