Things are off to a lovely start for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) nascent presidential campaign, which launched this week via a glitchy and disastrous Twitter Space and is now making headlines yet again over the digital activities of terminally online top DeSantis aide Christina Pushaw. Just one day after DeSantis’ announcement, Pushaw opted to build momentum by… spending the better part of Thursday duking it out with a 16-year-old Trump supporter on Twitter dot com.
Pushaw, fairly famous at this point for her face that (for whatever reason!) doesn’t move, went at it with “GOP Josh,” a high school student by day and popular pro-Trump Twitter user by night. At the very least, the online altercation between the ~32-year-old DeSantis aide and 16-year-old Trump supporter took on the critically important issues of the day: Pushaw’s alleged botox injections (and a little bit about Ukraine, too!).
The argument began in earnest when Pushaw shared a screenshot of a tweet by someone with “MAGA” in their username insulting her appearance: “Call me ugly all you want… must be tough when you can’t call me WRONG,” she wrote, followed by a string of emojis. That’s when GOP Josh chimed in, pondering, “How much of the $1M DeStablishment raised yesterday will go towards your Botox?”
“Does your mom know what you are doing on the internet,” Pushaw shot back, instigating a right-wing war of characteristically not-sick burns. GOP Josh rejoined, “Does your boss know that you’re a foreign National?” in apparent reference to reports last year that Pushaw registered as a foreign agent due to her former work for the former president of Georgia, a former Soviet republic. Don’t worry—Pushaw, originally from California, had a classic locked and loaded in the barrel for this one: “I know Gavin Newsom thinks he is a dictator but California isn’t a foreign country,” she tweeted back.
This seems to be the first full-out Twitter exchange between the two, but a cursory scroll of Pushaw’s abundant tweets shows GOP Josh has long been on the DeSantis aide’s ass. And after Pushaw stopped replying to him on Thursday, he continued to heckle her, replying to a tweet from Pushaw disparaging the Trump campaign by asking point-blank, “Why do you spend all day on Twitter?”
He continued, “Are you representing a serious campaign, or just the neocon-psyoped attempt at taking back the Republican Party from true conservatives?” Naturally, her alleged botox came up again, because this guy is about as creative as any of us were at age 16: “I feel sorry for you, Christina. You were lied to by someone who said you need to inject plastic into your race to feel beautiful. Just like you were lied to by your foreign boss that working for DeSantis would be beneficial to you/America. I’ll pray for you.”
It’s tempting to write off this spectacle of heated beef between a 30-something woman and a high schooler as just another day on Elon Musk’s Twitter, but I’d say there are some pretty interesting takeaways here. As DeSantis has teased his presidential bid for months now, former President Trump has only gotten nastier and nastier toward his opponent, while DeSantis, busy bullying queer teens and banning books, has taken a page from the ol’ Michelle Obama book of “when they go low, we go high”—a tactic that’s sure to play well with the same Republican base that’s nominated Trump the last two cycles. But the escalating war between DeSantis’ top aide and loud-and-proud Trump proponent Josh hints at just how crude things might get between Trump and DeSantis, who were formerly allies for years.
By now, Trump has stuck DeSantis with nicknames like “Tiny D,” “Meatball Ron,” and, perhaps most devastatingly, “Rob,” and more recently parodied DeSantis’ Twitter Space presidential announcement with an AI-generated recreation of the Twitter Space featuring the governor alongside Hitler and Satan. In response, DeSantis has relied on his terminally online press aide to fight back by beefing with a child online. Look, I’ll say it: If DeSantis is serious about winning this thing, he’s going to have to show a lot more fight than this. (I pray he doesn’t.)