DeSantis to sit down with Morning Joe as part of media blitz

Going forward, the governor is also expected to appear on multiple network Sunday programs in the coming weeks, according to an adviser.

All told, the slate of interviews suggest a new phase of the campaign for DeSantis, one in which he will venture more outside his ideological safe zone. The adviser said the governor is likely to do additional interviews on platforms known for appealing to left-leaning audiences.

DeSantis spokesperson Andrew Romeo said the governor was looking to “drive his message across a diverse swath of media to share his plans for what he will do as president to reverse America’s decline.”

But the interviews by DeSantis also reveal another reality in the GOP primary: it’s tough for non-Trump candidates to get media attention.

During his first term as governor, and in the opening months of his 2024 presidential campaign, DeSantis mostly limited his media appearances to conservative platforms. Chief among them was Fox News, a network that his orbit saw as critical to the governor’s national rise.

But with polls showing DeSantis trailing former President Donald Trump by wide margins — and fighting with rivals including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for second place — the governor is moving aggressively to expand his media exposure. By sitting down with outlets like CNN and MSNBC, DeSantis is betting he can parry hostile questions and endear himself to primary voters by appearing as a fighter.

His team also argued that some Republican primary voters tune into such networks and do not exclusively get their news from conservative platforms. And they say that going on CNN and MSNBC allows DeSantis to distinguish himself from other candidates who are exclusively focusing their outreach on conservative outlets.

DeSantis, who will be conducting his Morning Joe appearance remotely, had yet to appear on MSNBC this year. He has granted CNN one interview previously, with host Jake Tapper in July.

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, a former Florida congressman, has been sharply critical of DeSantis. Last month, he said it was “strange” and “bush league” for the governor to not meet with President Joe Biden when Biden visited Florida to survey damage from Hurricane Idalia.

Scarborough also derided DeSantis’ fumbled campaign launch on Twitter Spaces as “bad on so many fronts” and said that the governor had “damaged himself” politically with his decision to sign a six-week abortion ban.

DeSantis has in the past faced criticism for being inaccessible to mainstream news outlets, and during his first term as governor, he became known for holding press conferences where he had combative exchanges with reporters. Clips of those interactions often went viral in right-leaning circles and won him praise from conservatives.

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