Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appeared to not mind his snub from Rishi Sunak as officials made it clear he wanted to be photographed with rising star Kemi Badenoch. The Business and Trade Secretary welcomed Mr DeSantis in as a guest on his visit to London today after the Prime Minister had made it clear he was too busy to see the presidential hopeful.
Governor DeSantis has made his name by turning around Florida’s economy and keeping it open for business during the Covid pandemic.
However, he has also become a champion of anti-woke causes becoming one of the first to ban biological males identifying as female from taking part in women’s sport among other issues.
The US politician has used his world tour of Japan, Israel and the UK to boost his White House bid which is expected to be formally announced next month.
Despite having enormous success in his state in the midterm elections he has seen Donald Trump’s lead over Republicans for the nomination increase dramatically after the former President was indicted in what many on the right see as an attempt to “weaponise the law” against him.
Part of boosting his image was to be photographed meeting Ms Badenoch, whose other portfolio is women and equalities minister.
Ms Badenoch has already struck an international reputation as “the darling of the right” taking on woke issues.
She famously battled civil servants to take action against the controversial Tavistock clinic for children which brought about medical gender changes.
Ms Badenoch has also been a voice in the so-called culture wars pushing back against claims that Britain is “institutionally racist”.
Posting a picture of the two “anti-woke” champions together, DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin wrote: “Today @GovRonDeSantis met with @KemiBadenoch, who has been branded by British media as the “Anti-woke darling of the right” (a badge of honor!)
“Two great conservative fighters on mission.”
But Trump supporters were less than impressed suggesting that Ms Badenoch was not all that she seems.
Rahemm Kassam, editor-in-chief of the National Pulse, Tweeted: “FACT CHECK: Kemi Badenoch is currently leading the charge to *CRIMINALISE* anti-transgender therapy, and just yesterday betrayed Brexiteers by telling them much EU law will *NOT* be removed from the UK’s statute books.
“Whoever thought this was a good photo op thinks YOU’RE dumb.”
Mr Kassam was referring to revelations that Ms Badenoch only plans to remove 20 percent of EU red tape, far less than had been promised under Boris Johnson.
When he landed in London, Mr DeSantis went to the Foreig Office to meet with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
The two discussed trade and UK/US relations with Mr Cleverly taking the lead in rebuilding the Special Relationship between the two countries.
Mr DeSantis’ supporters hope that images of him with international political figures will help bolster his flagging campaign while he still remains the main rival to Mr Trump.