American author and critic Charles Finch claimed that GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis used to pronounce Thai as “thigh” to assess his dates.
A recent Financial Times profile on DeSantis, who will potentially run for president in 2024, cited people close to the firebrand conservative. It quoted from the pandemic memoir “What Just Happened: Notes on a Long Year” written by Finch, who went to Yale University at the same time as DeSantis.
“The author and critic Charles Finch recalled two things about his former classmate, known then as ‘D’: he did an uncanny impression of baseball star Jose Canseco and, according to a friend, would tell dates he liked Thai food, but pronounced it ‘thigh,’” the article reads. “If they corrected him, Finch wrote, he would find an excuse to leave.”
Finch said DeSantis used this first-date tactic because “he didn’t want a girlfriend who corrected him.”
The bizarre detail of DeSantis’ past dating life was then shared to Twitter by ProPublica journalist Alec MacGillis, prompting a debate which saw conservatives defending the governor of Florida.
“Yikes,” MacGillis tweeted on Saturday. “It’s a [very] good, comprehensive piece. One of the best I’ve read on DeSantis.”
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Supporters of DeSantis criticized MacGillis for spreading a detail that they claim amounts to “gossip.”
“Damn Alec. You’re one of the few true objective journalists left and you pull and highlight hearsay quote from 20 years ago from a ‘friend.’ Disappointing,” one user said. “Point taken. But I trust both the quoted author and the FT reporter enough to cite it. It’s a small but striking detail,” MacGillis replied to the comment. “I mean. Biden hung out with segregationists and Harris kept innocent men in prison to advance her career, but this is bad too. I guess,” another user wrote.
Ezra Levant, founder of the far-right outlet Rebel News, also joked that the detail of DeSantis’ dating life was evidence that the walls were “closing in” on him.
“They’ve finally got him cornered. I don’t believe he’ll survive the scandal of a British newspaper’s investigation revealing that, 25 years ago, when he was a student, he once pronounced Thai as thigh. It’s over,” Levant quote tweeted. DeSantis is the 46th governor of Florida. After attending Yale, he went to Harvard Law School, where he graduated with honors. He served as a federal prosecutor and was elected to Congress in 2012. He is married to Casey DeSantis, an American former news and television show host. In March 2022, he signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Act, known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten to Grade 3 in Florida’s public school districts. DeSantis is running for re-election in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial election this November against Democratic nominee Charlie Crist.