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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has officially kicked off his 2024 campaign for president, but all eyes are on his wife, Casey DeSantis, who is making strategic fashion choices as a tactical part of getting him elected. Former First Lady Melania Trump knew how to start a controversial conversation about her wardrobe, but Casey is taking a softer approach and gathering fashion inspiration from other public figures to generate headlines.
Republican strategist Ron Bonjean told The New York Times that Casey is playing “the image game” and she’s a master at it after starting her career as a TV news anchor. Her goal is to “maximize the levers of attention and the media” — and so far, it’s working. Kate Andersen Brower, author of First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies, explained that she’s a “student” of not only Melania, but also Jackie Kennedy and Kate Middleton. Tom Broecker, the costume designer for Saturday Night Live noted that “there’s so much intentionality and purpose behind everything” she wears these days.
Look no further than her January inauguration outfit which immediately drew comparisons to Jackie and the Camelot era. The Alex Perry-designed dress had an elegant cape cascading down her body and featured the requisite white gloves that instantly made one think of the iconic former first lady. It also doesn’t hurt to have the John F. Kennedy generation comparisons given that Democratic contender President Joe Biden is 80 and Ron’s GOP opponent is 76. The DeSantis campaign wants to reflect “youth and generational change.”
While Casey is still somewhat of a contentious presence in her husband’s campaign because some critics think she has too much sway over him, right now, it’s Melania who should be worried. The Florida First Lady is hoping for a “Melania lite” view of her wardrobe — “aspirational” instead of “elitist.” With Melania largely absent from the campaign trail, Casey is likely going to step up her appearances because she and Ron want to be the Republican Party nominee. And one of their secret weapons is going to be Casey’s fashion statements.
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