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2024 Election

DeSantis Roasted After Campaign Tried To Hide Abysmal Rally Attendance With Misleading Photos

The GOP presidential candidate's campaign event at a livestock auction venue in Tama, Iowa, looked deceptively full—but photos showing the whole venue told a different story.

Ron DeSantis
Rebecca S. Gratz for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis—once a promising contender and potential rival to former President Donald Trump's bid for the Republican presidential nomination—was roasted online for posting deceptive photos to hide abysmal attendance at an Iowa campaign rally.

Despite carefully curated official photos suggesting a packed audience, the reality on the ground told a different story – one of noticeable empty seats and a less-than-enthusiastic crowd.

DeSantis has been crisscrossing the state, hosting a series of campaign events over the weekend in a concerted effort to bolster his support, which has been flagging in recent times.

Photographs shared by the Never Back Down PAC for DeSantis depicted a seemingly enthusiastic and crowded event, seemingly indicating a robust following for DeSantis as a candidate.

You can see the photos below.

Never Back Down PAC manipulated photo of DeSantis rally@NvrBackDown24/Twitter

Never Back Down PAC manipulated photo of DeSantis rally@NvrBackDown24/Twitter

However, an alternate image shared on social media painted a contrasting scene, revealing a sparser crowd size.

The image was tweeted by Tim Miller, a writer for The Bulwark, and quickly gained traction, garnering over a million views. Miller's tweet shed light on the reality behind the carefully staged campaign event.

You can see the photo below.

Actual photograph of DeSantis rally attendance@Timodc/Twitter

Many have mocked DeSantis as a result.

Recent polling data from FiveThirtyEight highlights a challenging path to the nomination for DeSantis.

Approximately 45.9 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable opinion of the Florida Governor. Moreover, various other polls have consistently shown him trailing behind Trump in Republican primary polls, indicating the former President's continued dominance within the party.

Seizing on the opportunity, Trump's political advisor, Steven Cheung, also joined in the mockery, underscoring the stark contrast between the carefully crafted optics and the actual event turnout.

He wrote:

"Tiny crowd for Ron DeSantis in a livestock auction venue. Nobody is buying what that heifer is selling."

You can see his post below.

Adding to DeSantis' challenges, a recent New York Times/Siena College poll further underscored Trump's formidable position within the Republican field.

The poll revealed that Trump was a commanding 37 points ahead of his closest rival, DeSantis, among likely Republican primary voters. Notably, Trump's support transcended various demographics, solidifying his position as the dominant force in the Republican Party.

The poll also shed light on the limitations of DeSantis' strategy, which has heavily emphasized waging culture wars. The Governor's campaign has centered on anti-"wokeness" rhetoric, targeting issues such as education and cultural clashes.

However, the poll suggests that this approach may not be resonating as intended, potentially posing a significant challenge to DeSantis' presidential aspirations.