A lead strategist for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ super PAC told donors that “everything you read about” Vivek Ramaswamy stems from the group as he pointed to unflattering stories aimed at the GOP presidential candidate, Politico reported.
“Every misstatement, every 360 he’s conducting or 180 that he is going through in life, is from our scrutiny and pressure. And so, he’s not going to go through that very well, and that will get worse for him,” said Jeff Roe of the DeSantis-supporting Never Back Down super PAC in audio obtained by the news organization.
The remarks by Roe, the former campaign manager for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and founder of the political consulting firm Axiom Strategies, derive from a roughly hourlong meeting with donors held just before the first GOP presidential debate last month.
The recording, which Politico noted is an “exceedingly rare” occurrence to find strategists owning up to opposition research, follows a report by The New York Times that detailed Axiom sharing hundreds of pages of DeSantis’ debate strategy on its website.
One of the governor’s “must-dos,” according to one document, is to “hammer Vivek Ramaswamy in a response.” The document was later removed from the firm’s website.
Roe, as part of a pre-debate meeting for top DeSantis donors, reportedly said of Ramaswamy: “He will not go through the discovery, scrutiny and decline phase of presidential politics very well. His scrutiny phase, we are putting him through it right now.”
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were among the candidates who launched attacks at the biotech millionaire.
A spokesperson for Ramaswamy’s campaign weighed in on Roe’s remarks to donors, telling Politico: “When DeSantis’s Super Pac campaign, Chris Christie, the New York Times, MSNBC and the rest of the bipartisan establishment are all going after you at the same time, you know you’re right over the target. America watched Vivek dominate the debate stage, it’s no wonder Never Back Down is pissing away another $20+ million after Labor Day.”
Never Back Down did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) and Vivek Ramaswamy talk during a break at the first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last month. Eight presidential hopefuls squared off as former President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined to participate in the event.
Details of the meeting previously reported by CNN and The New York Times also noted Roe’s call for an additional $50 million from donors by year’s end and “$100 million more” by the end of March 2024.
Roe noted that he needed “much” of the $50 million prior to the second GOP debate later this month, according to The Times.
The strategist also took aim at more of the Florida governor’s rivals in the meeting including Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Pence and Trump, cautioning that the Republican Party would lose the White House if the latter were picked as the nominee.
“We have to beat him and we’ve got to beat him in the next 60 days and we’ve got to beat everybody else nipping at our heels. Now. And we’ve got to separate further — now,” Roe said at the meeting.