A veteran GOP political strategist has described Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as the "worst" presidential candidate he has ever seen.
Jeff Timmer, a senior adviser at the Lincoln Project, a Republican PAC consisting of Donald Trump critics, made the claim while tweeting out a clip of DeSantis suggesting he would try to abolish four federal agencies if elected president as part of his battle against the "woke" agenda.
Speaking to Fox News' Martha MacCallum, DeSantis said he would be "in favor" of eliminating the Education, Commerce and Energy departments and the IRS once in the White House.
Republican presidential candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaks during a press conference on the banks of the Rio Grande on June 26, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. The Lincoln Project's Jeff Timmer has described DeSantis as the "worst candidate I’ve ever seen." Brandon Bell/Getty Images
"So if Congress will work with me on doing that, we'd be able to reduce the size and scope of government," said DeSantis, who polls show lagging far behind former President Trump in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
"But what I'm also going to do is be prepared if Congress won't go that far, I'm going to use those agencies to push back against woke ideology and against the leftism we see creeping into all institutions of American life."
While sharing the clip, Timmer tweeted: "Ron DeSantis is the worst candidate I've ever seen.
"It's like he's been assembled from the discarded spare parts of Bobby Jindal, Bill de Blasio, Rick Perry, and Scott Walker," Timmer said. Jindal, Perry and Walker, the former governors of Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin respectively, as well as former New York City Mayor de Blasio, all unsuccessfully ran for president.
In 2011, Perry infamously failed to name all three of the federal agencies he wanted to abolish if elected president during a live GOP primary debate.
After declaring that there will be "three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone," Perry named Commerce and Education, before adding "what's the third one there?"
After being asked by CNBC moderators if he could remember the name of the third department he wanted to abolish, Perry took a brief look through his notes before adding: "I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops."
Prior to his work on The Lincoln Project, Timmer spent 30 years working in various aspects of the Republican Party, including serving as an adviser to former Ohio Governor John Kasich's 2016 presidential campaign, and as executive director of the Michigan Republican Party.
Timmer is also the co-founder of the Republicans and Independents for Biden campaign group.
DeSantis, who made turning Florida into a place where "woke goes to die" a major part of his 2022 gubernatorial re-election promise, previously vowed to defund some government agencies if elected president during his official 2024 campaign announcement on Twitter Spaces.
"I think there's a lot that the executive branch can do. And I will say when it comes to these agencies—we'll go into this a little bit more as the campaign goes on—but buckle up when I get in there, because the status quo is not acceptable," DeSantis said in the error-strewn May stream.
"We are going to make sure that we constitutionalize this government, and these agencies are totally out of control. There's no accountability and we are going to bring that in a very big way."
DeSantis' office has been contacted for comment via email.