Donald Trump Jr has shared a seemingly AI-generated clip of Ron DeSantis edited into the role of Steve Carell’s Michael Scott in The Office in a clip in which the character is mocked for wearing a woman’s suit.
Democratic consultant Tim Hogan added that “Folks, we simply are not ready for the 2024 GOP primary memes”.
“Rhonda Santis is a perfect drag name, just saying,” Mr Hogan tweeted.
Philip Germain at the Lincoln Project added: “I am once again asking for Steve Carrell to play DeSantis on SNL.”
“I for one welcome the onslaught of election-season deepfakes,” Jesse Walker of Reason magazine wrote.
Don Jr. among others has shared this video.
I don’t think any of us are ready for this next election online.
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) May 27, 2023
As the mockery continued of Mr DeSantis’s glitch-ridden campaign launch, the Florida governor began to push back.
He slammed his main rival for the 2024 GOP nomination, former President Donald Trump, claiming he “is a different guy” than when he first ran for president.
Mr Trump is leading all other Republican candidates for the party’s presidential nomination, with Mr DeSantis running in second place, according to polls.
Mr DeSantis officially embarked on his own bid for the White House earlier this week in a chaotic Twitter Spaces event with billionaire Elon Musk.
The governor told radio host Matt Murphy that he was running to the right of Mr Trump and portrayed himself as more conservative, according to USA Today.
“It seems like he’s running to the left and I have always been somebody that’s just been moored in conservative principles,” said Mr DeSantis.
“So these will be interesting debates to have, but I can tell you, you don’t win nationally by moving to the left, you win nationally by standing for bold policy. We showed that in Florida. I never watered down anything I did.”
And Mr DeSantis claimed that Mr Trump is not the same person who first ran for office.
“I don’t know what happened to Donald Trump – this is a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016 and I think the direction that he’s going with his campaign is the wrong direction,” Mr DeSantis said.
And he attacked Mr Trump over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic while in office.
“I think [Trump] did great for three years, but when he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020 that destroyed millions of people’s lives,” Mr DeSantis said on a podcast.
“And in Florida, we were one of the few that stood up, cut against the grain, took incoming fire from media, bureaucracy, the left, even a lot of Republicans, had school open, preserved businesses.”