Many names in politics are hard to say. Pete Buttigieg sold T-shirts to supporters of his 2020 presidential campaign who had instructions on how to pronounce his Maltese last name. In the Wisconsin Supreme Court election this year, Janet Protasiewicz ran ads showing people altering her Polish name.
But it’s hard to remember a prominent American politician offering alternative pronunciations of his own name to Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida.
when he was sworn in for a second term as governor in January, he said, “Me, Ron Deh-Santis.” This month, started a video for the National Day of Prayer by saying, “I’m Governor Ron Dee-Santis.”
As he launched his campaign Wednesday with a failed Twitter appearance and an interview on Fox News, he twice invited his supporters to visit “Ron Deh-Santis dot com.” But in his first campaign video, he introduced himself by saying, “I’m Ron Dee-Santis.”
Mr. DeSantis grew up and began his career in 2012 calling himself Ron Dee Santisthan a campaign spokesperson told The Tampa Bay Times in 2018 it was how he preferred to say it. But in 2016, when he was in Congress, DeSantis said his name Deh-Santis in a video for the House Oversight Committee. His campaign did not respond to requests for comment this week.
Late last year, Mr. DeSantis alternated the long and short vowel sounds in his last name. For a video wishing Indian Americans “a happy Diwali”, Dee-Santis said. A few weeks later, it was Deh-Santis in your thanksgiving message.
It’s worth noting that few others say Dee-Santis. Rep. Rich McCormick of Georgia, who endorsed the Florida governor Tuesday, Deh-Santis said. So did a Democratic group attacking him on the eve of his presidential announcement. And perhaps most importantly, Mr. DeSantis’s wife, Casey, has always said the last name Deh-Santis, including in two memorable television commercials that helped him score wins in 2018 and 2022.
If elected president, Mr. DeSantis wouldn’t be the only world leader with a history of changing the way he says his name. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia has also alternated the pronunciation of his last name, according to a 2019 report from Australian public broadcaster ABC. he said in a tv interview so that people call him by his nickname: Albo. “You can’t go wrong with that,” he said.
Mr. DeSantis, who The Tampa Bay Times wrote was known as “Dee” in high school, doesn’t have such an easy way out of the question of his name.
Mr. DeSantis can offer more clarity when his campaign begins running television ads, because at some point he will have to say the words required by federal law: “I am Ron DeSantis and I endorse this message.”