In an effort to revamp his campaign and address speculations surrounding it, Republican presidential candidate Governor Ron DeSantis is putting the spotlight on his military background. DeSantis, who previously served as a Navy officer and earned a bronze star while deployed in Iraq with the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), recently released a digital advertisement emphasizing his service. The ad, featuring images from his naval career, emphasizes DeSantis’s commitment to country and portrays him as a fighter with a strong sense of duty.
DeSantis, the only Republican contender with military experience in the race, unveiled his “Mission First” military policy during an event in South Carolina last month. His plan focuses on removing what he sees as ideological influences from the military and restoring its core mission. DeSantis believes that political agendas have compromised the military’s purpose, and he aims to reinstate confidence, conviction, and patriotic duty within the institution.
If elected president, DeSantis plans to discontinue practices like Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) hirings and Critical Race Theory-oriented training. Instead, he prioritizes warfighting readiness as the military’s primary objective.
The release of this advertisement coincided with the replacement of DeSantis’s campaign manager, Generra Peck, with a longtime political advisor who has limited campaign experience. This change comes as part of a larger campaign overhaul in response to underwhelming poll numbers in the 2024 GOP primary race.
Critics have interpreted these staff changes as signs of a faltering campaign. However, the newly appointed campaign manager, James Uthmeier, has defended DeSantis’s ability to secure victory, asserting that the recent changes will ultimately benefit the campaign.
Last month, the DeSantis campaign informed its major financial supporters about a “reset” of the campaign. In meetings with donors and fundraisers, the campaign acknowledged that there had been excessive spending since DeSantis’s entry into the presidential race.