DeSantis Campaign Was Totally Behind Those Controversial Meme Videos

INSIDE: Yuscil Taveras ... Fani Willis ... Paul Reubens
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2023/04/17: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holds a press conference at the Reedy Creek Administration Building in Lake Buena Vista. DeSantis announced legislative action to n... LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2023/04/17: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holds a press conference at the Reedy Creek Administration Building in Lake Buena Vista. DeSantis announced legislative action to nullify the agreement between the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Walt Disney World which was designed to permit Disney to retain control of its theme park and surrounding property. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Greetings from Martha’s Vineyard, where Morning Memo has relocated until Labor Day. The same essential news, just 10 degrees cooler. Sign up for the email version.


Semafor has an exclusive look at internal DeSantis campaign communications about the meme-filled videos produced in-house then distributed on the sly via supportive Twitter accounts:

The videos include two that have created recurring distractions for his campaign in recent weeks: an anti-Trump video that featured a fascist symbol, and another that attacked Donald Trump for past comments supportive of LGBT rights.

The meme-filled videos emerged from a Signal channel called “War Room Creative Ideas,” screenshots of which were shared with Semafor and whose authenticity was confirmed by a second source familiar with the campaign.

DeSantis staffers were gleeful about their efforts:

Screenshots of the “War Room” chat reviewed by Semafor included staffers praising a widely-derided and since-deleted video — originally posted on an anonymous account, “Ron DeSantis Fancams” — that included a version of the Sonnenrad, a symbol associated with Nazi Germany.

“This belongs in the Smithsonian,” wrote Kyle Lamb, the campaign’s director of research and data, before the video blew up in the campaign’s face. 

It includes a special cameo by longtime DeSantis spox Christina Pushaw, who now runs his campaign’s rapid response team.

Indictment Watch

Today could be the day for the Jan. 6 indictment of Trump:

  • The vibe …
  • Politico: 2 more Trump indictments loom. Here are all the names to know.

The Interesting Case Of Yuscil Taveras

Lisa Rubin: Why the target letter to an uncharged Mar-a-Lago employee matters

Another Delay In The MAL Case

The arraignment of Carlos De Oliveira, the new co-defendant in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, was postponed while he finds local counsel.

A Damage Assessment

Tess Bridgeman and Ryan Goodman: National Security Implications of Trump’s Superseding Indictment In The MAL Case

Trump’s Jam-Packed Legal Calendar

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has signaled he may be open to moving Trump’s trial in the hush-money case to accommodate other pending prosecutions.

Journo Subpoenaed By Fani Willis

  • AJC: Journalist who observed GOP electors subpoenaed in Fulton Trump case
  • The Intercept: I Was Just Subpoenaed By Trump’s Georgia Grand Jury. Here’s What I’ll Tell Them.

Georgia Judge Shoots Down Absurd Trump Play

Donald Trump’s effort to use state courts to block Fani Willis’ criminal investigation of him foundered again.

Dennis Aftergut: Another Judge Smacks Down Another Frivolous Trump Case

NYT: Judge Rejects Trump’s Effort to Short-Circuit Georgia Election Case

Bloomberg: Trump Strikes Out in Effort to Suppress Georgia Grand Jury

Lindsey Graham Out There Delegitimizing Jury Trials

Quote For The Ages

It’s always unpleasant when you have to go in and tell your wife that, ‘By the way, tomorrow sometime I’m going to be indicted.’

Donald John Trump

More On Trump’s Money Woes

A few additional tidbits from the latest FEC filings:

  • Roger Sollenberger does the math and concludes that initial reports showing former President Trump with $40.2 million in legal expenses was exactly double the amount actually incurred.

The early news reports—sourced from “people familiar with the filing”—and the disclosure itself don’t provide enough data to show where the error lay. However, the seemingly neat halfway split could suggest an accounting mistake—or, alternatively, possibly unreliable or intentionally misleading sourcing

  • NYT: After Paying Lawyers, Trump’s PAC Is Nearly Broke
  • A refund of $60 million from Trump’s Make America Great Again super PAC to his Save America PAC is “believed to be larger than any other refund on record in the history of federal campaigns,” according to the NYT.

2024 Ephemera

  • NYT: “A super PAC supporting Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign said on Tuesday that it had reserved more than $13 million in television and digital ads in Iowa and New Hampshire starting in August.”

The Heath Hens Are Coming Home To Roost

Massachusetts district attorney sends letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding a federal investigation of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ scheme last year to ship migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

Menendez Scandal Watch

NYT: A Senator’s New Wife and Her Old Friends Draw Prosecutors’ Attention

Federal Judge Blocks Idaho Abortion Prosecutions

Idaho Capital Sun: “A federal judge in Idaho has granted a preliminary injunction barring Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador from taking legal action against medical providers who refer patients across state lines for abortion care and denied Labrador’s request to dismiss the case.”

Phew, That Was Close

A shot off the post by Portugal in the 91st minute was all that stood between the U.S. women’s team and an epic elimination from the World Cup they came in heavily favored to win. As it is, the U.S. advances after surviving a draw with Portugal.

RIP Paul Reubens

The actor best known for creating Pee-wee Herman died at age 70 after a cancer diagnosis that he kept private.

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman during Pee-wee Herman Performance – June 12, 1984 at Park West in Chicago, Illinois, United States. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Like Morning Memo? Let us know!

Latest Morning Memo
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: