Ron DeSantis Offers an Answer on How to Say His Last Name

'Winner,' the presidential candidate snarks, refusing to clarify further on 'ridiculous' pronunciation debate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2023 8:28 AM CDT
Ron DeSantis Refuses to Clarify How to Say His Name
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign event on Thursday in Rochester, New Hampshire.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

"Dee-Santis" or "Deh-Santis"? How GOP presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pronounces his own last name has become the debate du jour, and although Mediaite calls it a "substantively meaningless distinction," the public's curiosity has yet to be quelled. Fox News reporter Paul Steinhauser tried to pull a definitive answer out of DeSantis on Thursday, and he got an answer, though probably not the one everyone was hoping for.

"There's been some confusion over your last name and the pronunciation," Steinhauser (who himself had an odd way of saying "pronunciation") informed the governor. "And I'm just wondering, to correct the record: What is it?" DeSantis, who smiled and shook his head as the reporter finished his query, answered, "No, it's ridiculous, these stupid things. Listen, the way to pronounce my last name? 'Winner.'"

Axios touched base with professor William Connell, the head of Italian studies at Seton Hall University, who said he could see someone in America with the Italian last name DeSantis shifting from saying "Day-Sahn-tees" (which is how Italians would say it) to "Deh-Santis," which is one of the versions the governor has been using. But Connell says "Dee-Santis," which DeSantis has also fallen back on, doesn't make as much sense, because in that case, Italians would spell the name "DiSantis."

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One other person weighing in: former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Italian American who spoke to Axios from Italy, where he's currently traveling. He agrees with Connell that "day" and "deh" are common ways to pronounce the first part of both his and DeSantis' surnames, but he doesn't get why DeSantis keeps swapping them. "People flip-flop and change their positions on things, but how you say your name is not one of them," de Blasio noted. "It's not negotiable!" (Read more Ron DeSantis stories.)

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