Scott Olson/Getty Images; (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
- A video from 2018 shows a dressed-down Matt Gaetz coaching Ron DeSantis on how to debate.
- Gaetz, wearing a Nirvana shirt and flip flops, tries to advise DeSantis about his tone.
- Gaetz is also seen slumping onto the podium midway through debate prep.
In a five-year-old video that’s recently surfaced, Rep. Matt Gaetz can be seen serving “college kid in crisis” while coaching Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on how to debate his gubernatorial opponent.
In a 2018 video obtained by ABC News and published in an article on Sunday, Gaetz is seen rocking a Nirvana shirt, baggy jeans, and Florida-style flip-flops while in a prep session with DeSantis. DeSantis — one of Gaetz’s former congressional colleagues from Florida — was gearing up for a showdown with Andrew Gillum, his Democratic opponent in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race. At the time of the video, Gaetz was a Florida congressman, while DeSantis had resigned to run against Gillum.
“You come too hot through the whole thing,” Gaetz says in the video, commenting on DeSantis’ tone.
“It deserves to be hot!” a suit-clad DeSantis bellows in response, throwing his arms up in frustration. “I mean, I’m sorry!”
DeSantis and Gaetz then go back and forth about how DeSantis should respond to jabs from his opponent.
—ABC News (@ABC) May 7, 2023
Gaetz was one of the people enlisted to help DeSantis prep for debates. According to a series of videos ABC News obtained and released on Sunday, DeSantis was advised by an aide to tone down the aggressiveness and remind himself to stay likable by writing it in all-caps at the top of a notepad.
In another video from what appeared to be the same prep session, Gaetz is seen slumping onto the podium while DeSantis continues to deliberate with aides about how he should answer debate questions.
Gaetz might have been allied with DeSantis back in 2018, but today, Gaetz is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump’s 2024 re-election bid. DeSantis may launch a 2024 presidential bid of his own in the coming months — which will put him at odds with Trump — and by extension, Gaetz.
Gaetz acknowledged the videos posted by ABC News in a tweet on Sunday.
“I ran the Desantis Debate Prep in 2018. Though I prefer Trump for President (bigly), the release of these videos by the person operating the camera is disloyal hackery that I do not abide,” Gaetz tweeted. “Staffers who leak on the candidates they’ve done work for deserve the reputations they get.”
Representatives for Gaetz and DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.