DeSantis PAC founder accuses Gaetz of spewing ‘conspiracy theories’ as interview goes off the rails

DeSantis PAC founder Ken Cuccinelli accused Rep. Matt Gaetz of spreading “conspiracy theories” over Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign.

Never Back Down PAC founder and former Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli snapped at Gaetz on Thursday during a Newsmax interview when asked about PAC funds earmarked for DeSantis flipping to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin if the Florida governor’s presidential campaign fails.

Gaetz, who was guest-hosting Newsmax’s “Rob Schmitt Tonight,” wasted no time in asking Cuccinelli what “has gone wrong” with the DeSantis campaign recently. The Florida Republican pointed to the campaign laying off 40% of its staffers and a purported slip in the polls for the popular conservative.

“I don’t think anything’s gone wrong,” Cuccinelli responded.

“I think they’re right to get leaner and, as they said, take a leaner, more insurgent approach. That’s what I like to see, and it’s the July before. I don’t know of a July before where the leader actually won the nomination,” he steadfastly contended.

“Well, why didn’t they start that way, Ken? Wait — wait. If lean and insurgent was the right approach, why didn’t the DeSantis campaign just begin that way?” Gaetz asked as the two battled.

Cuccinelli stated that he believed it was the right move despite the timing.

Gaetz dug in even further and both men started talking over one another.

“Does Ron DeSantis enjoy campaigning? Because, like, I’ve had your job as DeSantis’ principal surrogate in 2018 when he was running for governor, and I’m telling you, we traveled all over Florida together and I saw then he was having a good time. Right now, it just does not look like Ron DeSantis and the people around him are, like, having fun,” Gaetz asked, looking to push any hint of weakness in the DeSantis campaign.

“Well, I am!” Cuccinelli clapped back. “So, uh, I’m not on the campaign, but you know that’s all we can do, and frankly, I appreciate the perseverance and the hard work combined with his unmatched record.”

Things got even more tense when Gaetz brought up Republican strategist Jeff Roe, who was hired by Never Back Down in March.

“Jeff Roe, a big DeSantis supporter, also has another prominent Republican governor in his client base. That’s Glenn Youngkin from your home state of Virginia. Can you commit tonight that none of the money from the Never Back Down super PAC will be flipped to support the candidacy of Glenn Youngkin in the event that you guys don’t see DeSantis as a good bet?” Gaetz asked Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli appeared insulted by the question which apparently meant to imply that the DeSantis campaign was already looking to pin someone else as the nominee.

“They didn’t tell me they were bringing me on for your conspiracy theories,” Cuccinelli snapped at Gaetz.

“That’s a fair question! Are you gonna use the money that way?” Gaetz implied.

“No, it’s not really. Not with your twelve degrees of Kevin Bacon,” Cuccinelli snarked.

Gaetz, however, refused to let go of the issue, sinking his teeth into it even deeper.

“Wait a second. You have the total control to be able to direct that money. You don’t think it’s a fair question to ask you where it’s going?” the congressman said, trying to bait Cuccinelli.

“I’m answering it, aren’t I?” Cuccinelli hotly responded. “We’re committed solely to electing Ron DeSantis for president. That means becoming the nominee first, and becoming the president second, and then getting reelected president.”

Gaetz sneered at him, stating, “You’ve got to win Iowa before you win reelection.”

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