RFK Jr. may run for president, but it’s one of his potential rivals, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose wife is being touted as the new queen of Camelot.
Casey DeSantis, the former Jacksonville TV host and breast cancer survivor who married DeSantis in 2009, invoked comparisons to Jackie Kennedy Onassis on the couple’s trip to Japan this week.
“Casey DeSantis is the “Queen of Camelot 2.0.” read one of the many tweets about the 42-year-old first lady of Florida, who experts say has upped her fashion game and political savvy since her husband first took office, and as she’s expected to announce formally his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
“The whole family reminds me of the Kennedys: totally poised and comfortable in front of the camera,” a former political operative told The Post last November.
In Japan on Monday, Casey showcased her ever-evolving and eye-catching fashion sense: she wore a white suit accented with a peplum and a bold floral print for her daytime look, followed by a light blue evening gown with dramatic cape and dazzling epaulettes.
DeSantis, his wife and their three young children traveled to Japan as part of a four-country trade mission, with planned stops in South Korea, Israel and the United Kingdom.
And Casey commanded the chamber, cementing her reputation as not only her husband’s “secret weapon” but also a force in her own right.
“This is a woman who truly rises to the occasion, whether it’s gracefully fighting serious cancer or being on the world stage,” Tracy Caruso, the wife of Florida state Rep. Mike Caruso, who he has spent time with Casey. Tuesday. “Everyone saw the comparison to Jackie O when her husband was re-elected, but she’s so much more than that.”
Caruso said she attended the annual state legislature spouses luncheon overseen by Casey while the first lady was in the midst of breast cancer treatment in 2021 and 2022.
“She sat at my table for 45 minutes and I had a long conversation with her and what had happened. It was very important to her to tell people to get tests and mammograms. She is young. It’s not something she expected to happen,” Caruso said. “But she handled it well and came out the other side. She says a lot about her strength and her character.
Casey’s potential as a major political asset has not been lost on her husband’s team.
“She’s definitely seen as an asset to the governor, and I think it’s pretty clear why,” a source in Florida told The Post. “She is serene and carefree, but also glamorous and regal when she is appropriate. She’s made the decision to put it in the spotlight over the last year: more press conferences, more visibility, more activity on social media. That’s not going to change, you’re going to see more of that.”
DeSantis has called his wife his “best friend and best supporter,” but experts say she’s also a valuable adviser.
After being largely absent from Fox News in 2019, DeSantis returned to television at his wife’s request. “Casey would say, ‘We have to put it on Mark Levin and ‘Hannity’ once a week,’” an attendee told The New York Times last year. “’Frequency is very important.’”
Casey is also seen as more relatable than Melania Trump.
“She talks well: Casey was a news anchor, she knows how to talk to people,” a veteran Palm Beach Republican activist said of the former Golf Channel personality. “She dresses elegant but is very approachable. She’s smart. She even she is a bit street smart. She’s after that man. She shows up with the kids, it’s what decent people want to see. They are very clear in her message: it is about families. She is a mother first, but she is supporting that husband. She really is the complete package.”
Casey’s former co-workers told Vanity Fair earlier this year: “I remember once saying [to a colleague]’Casey wants to be a senator’s wife.'” ‘And he said, ‘No, she has every intention of being a president’s wife.'”
A veteran Republican agent who has known the couple since 2011 said she has always been struck by Casey’s “self-discipline.”
“She always looked perfect,” the operative said. “Every time she would see her, she would wear such an adorable dress. She must have had 300 dresses and shoes to match. She told me that she orders her clothes online because she doesn’t have time. She also said that she taught herself to do makeup by being on TV. She is very disciplined, almost regimented. She always has a goal and a focus.”
Another Florida political observer told The Post that Casey has made big strides in fashion.
“The second time, her clothing became much more sophisticated. She started to look like Jackie relatively recently, but I don’t think she was on purpose,” the observer said. “It was just a natural evolution.”
DeSantis said his trip abroad is aimed at strengthening economic relations and demonstrating Florida’s position as an economic leader.
In the coming days, DeSantis, who is traveling with state officials and his wife, is expected to meet with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
During the Israel leg of his trip, DeSantis will deliver a keynote address Thursday at an event marking the 75th anniversary of the nation’s founding.