DeSantis Uses Military Service to Bolster Campaign

( – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been struggling to gain traction ever since he formally announced his bid for the presidency on May 24. Current polls show former President Donald Trump continues to dominate voter support, leaving his only real competition slim chances of taking the lead. With dwindling resources and few options left, DeSantis has been leaning on his military service in an attempt to boost his floundering campaign.

NBC News received a private memo DeSantis’ campaign distributed to the candidate’s friends and family in July. It disclosed his plan to focus on primary voters for the time being, highlighting the Florida leader’s veteran status and family values among his talking points. It noted voters were more receptive when they knew more about him and his military history.

DeSantis reportedly attempted to lean on that background during a recent speech in New Hampshire. He’s also incorporated his military past into his ads. In June, the presidential hopeful released a video that introduced him as “Ron DeSantis, Iraq War veteran.” An earlier video, “Top Gov,” features lettering in the same font as the “Top Gun” movie title and clips of the conservative governor in aviator glasses and flying gear. The end of the short, promotional video shows a young boy — presumably one of DeSantis’ children — wearing a bomber jacket and seated in a fighter cockpit, exclaiming, “Let’s turn and burn!”

DeSantis’ resume is arguably impressive. He spent time in the 2000s in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, serving as a Navy lawyer before being deployed to Iraq as a legal advisor. The St. Augustine Record states he was responsible for ensuring Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs conducted themselves in accordance with the law and treated prisoners of war humanely. He’s earned multiple military decorations including the Bronze Star and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

Regardless of his honors, DeSantis might continue to find himself on shaky ground. According to NBC, the Trump rival still has a long way to go if he wants to uproot the GOP favorite, and experts agree that a couple of medals won’t likely be enough to win over new voters.

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