When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis released a YouTube video last week announcing his presidential candidacy, the way he said his own name at the end hit some folks with a clang. “I’m Ron DeSantis,” he said, clearly emphasizing the first syllable and pronouncing the long-e – like “DEE-Santis.”
Had quite literally everyone been saying it wrong all this time? The answer is apparently yes – even DeSantis himself.
Axios took a deep dive on the heady topic in a Thursday report, writing: “Some presidential candidates struggle to nail their message. Ron DeSantis is struggling to nail his NAME. In the early days of his campaign, DeSantis has gone back and forth between pronouncing his name Dee-Santis and Deh-Santis.”
Later Thursday, CNN also reported on the suddenly controversial vowel.
Hear it for yourself in the closing seconds:
Axios reports that DeSantis used the long-e (DEE-Santis) not just in that video, but also in a radio interview later that day. But during interviews last week with Fox News, Glenn Beck, Erick Erickson, and Mark Levin, he went back to the more casual-sounding (and so far, more widely used) “Duh-SAN-tis.”
Axios said DeSantis’ political action committee had no comment on the apparent discrepancy.
Former President Donald Trump, who has a third pronunciation of his rival’s name that has failed to catch on and so far only he uses, also ribbed DeSantis’ floating vowel use.
“Ron DeSantis is a phony who can’t decide how to pronounce his name,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung told Axios. “If you can’t get your name right, how can you lead a country?”
Since DeSantis is a name of Italian origin, Axios also spoke with Professor William Connell, chair of Italian Studies at Seton Hall. Connell said it’s common for Italian-Americans to “anglicize” their surnames, and that the proper Italian way would be something like “Day-SAHN-tees.”
But “DEE-Santis” would be a departure, he said, since the Italian spelling would be “DiSantis.”