This could be the ugliest liberal-media attack on a candidate's wife in recent memory. On Jonathan Capehart's MSNBC show on Saturday two guests competed to see which one could smear the wife of a Republican candidate with the ugliest epithet.
The two contestants in the mudslinging match were Tara Setmayer of the disgraced Lincoln Project, and ex-Republican David Jolly. Their target was Casey DeSantis, wife of Ron.
Jolly described Casey as "America's Karen." That led a hooting Capehart to tell Setmayer, "Tara, I think David's beaten you in terms of taking my breath away during a segment." Capehart virtually congratulated Jolly on his insult, saying, "'America's Karen:' David Jolly, you went for it!"
But Setmayer was not to be bested in the slander stakes. She promptly riposted, seeking to demonstrate that she could be even nastier than Jolly: "Well, I called her a Serena Waterford wannabe."
Waterford is the character from The Handmaid's Tale who has been described, in a website about screen villains, as "the cruel, fanatically religious wife of Fred Waterford, the dictator of Gilead."
Not content with that despicable swipe, Setmayer continued: "There's all sorts of names for her. She's got to stop measuring the drapes in the White House, thinking she's some kind of Jackie O reincarnate. Keep an eye on her though: she's a wily figure."
Try to imagine how the MSNBC regulars would get the vapors if you called Jill Biden or Kamala Harris or Michelle Obama "America's Karen."
Note: Beyond his "America's Karen" slur, Jolly was also wrong on the substance in attacking Casey and Ron DeSantis. Capehart opened the discussion by playing a clip from a DeSantis campaign ad featuring Casey in which the point was made that as Governor of Florida, DeSantis has put an end to Critical Race Theory and DEI, defended parents' rights, and established universal school choice.
Jolly claimed that the DeSantis platform is a "losing," one "simply not a message that resonates." In fact, it's exactly the kind of message that Glenn Youngkin ran and won on in purple-trending-blue Virginia, and helped DeSantis to win Florida by 20 points.
Here's the transcript.
The Saturday Show with Jonathan Capehart
9:04 am EDT
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Okay, so, we're talking about Ron DeSantis, but Casey DeSantis, his wife, is getting in on the action. She started campaigning for her husband. And well, take a look at this new video.
DESANTIS CAMPAIGN AD: Schools, open. Parents rights, defended. School choice, universal. Critical Race Theory, prohibited. D E I? Stopped. We will not allow you to exploit their innocence to advance their agenda. We are no longer silent. We are united, and we have finally found our fighter.
CAPEHART: David, I mean, we just showed part of this very long
ad. It's so dark. Um, I would love your thoughts.
DAVID JOLLY: Yeah, Jonathan, look. Casey DeSantis is a fairly compelling political figure in Florida, and now nationally. For many, she's the brighter side to Florida's angry governor. For others, she's become America's Karen. And I think that's the ultimate disconnect here with a campaign that needs to embrace more constituencies to get to the White House.
But she is a more effective messenger than Ron DeSantis, but if all she is doing is amplifying the wrong message, she's actually clarifying Ron DeSantis's weaknesses. And so this, this ideology, the DeSantis doctrine, if you will, that our culture wars of the most pressing moment, and we are going to invent these culture wars to terrify voters, that's simply not a message that resonates.
So as I like to say, it doesn't matter if it's presented in heels or boots, the DeSantis doctrine's a losing one. We're going to learn that, the more Casey DeSantis gets out there.
CAPEHART: Hoo, hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo-hoo. Tara, um, I think David's beaten you in terms of taking my breath away during a segment. But real quickly, though, because I do want to move on to Mike Pence for a hot second. America's Karen: David Jolly, you went for it!
TARA SETMAYER: Well, I called her, I called her this, you know, Serena Waterford wannabe, needs to, cut it out. We see you. So [laughter.]
There's all kinds of names for her. She needs to stop trying to measure the drapes in the White House and think that she's some kind of Jackie O reincarnate. I mean, Casey DeSantis, keep an eye on her, though. She's a wily figure.