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Ron DeSantis Does Not Text or Email

All sorts of scandals in recent years, whether in politics or business, have used texts and emails as evidence against the accused. Hillary Clinton used a private email server, and some say it cost her the presidency, while the evidence in Donald Trump’s different criminal cases, especially the January 6 ones, have hinged on text and email evidence, and disputes over it.

It would behoove most people in politics, or who aspire to the presidency, to be careful what they email or text. And Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida appears to have taken that to heart.

According to Semafor, the Florida governor and likely presidential candidate does not use text messages or email, at least not in “any official capacity.”

“In place of digital communication, DeSantis communicates exclusively with face-to-face meetings or calls,” the report said. “If he wants to schedule such a meeting, he’ll pick up the phone or have his team help organize it. The governor’s office confirmed DeSantis’s aversion to (now) traditional means of communicating, telling Semafor that he prefers in-person conversations because the topics discussed are often nuanced and detailed.”

Florida has laws in place, the Sunshine Law and the Public Records Law, which have broader force than most states when it comes to public access to information.

DeSantis’ no-texting rule follows a similar one practiced by his predecessor as governor, Rick Scott, now a U.S. Senator. “The use of text messaging (for) state business by employees because text messages are hard to catalog due to the digital nature of the message,” Scott’s spokesperson said back in 2016.

However, the governor before Scott, Jeb Bush, was a prolific user of email who released over 275,000 emails from his governorship when he ran for president in 2016. Text messaging was not widely used during Bush’s governorship.

Trump himself does not use email and did not use text messaging while he was president, although the New York Times reported back in January that Trump had recently taken up texting. The former president was, of course, well-known for using his phone to tweet, prior to his 2021 ejection from Twitter, although it’s not clear if the former president ever used Twitter’s direct-messaging function.

Trump’s new text messaging habit, the Times said at the time, “has caused alarm among some of his associates, who are concerned about what he might say.”

“Since at least January 1, 2010, it has been my customary practice to not communicate via e-mail, text message, or other digital methods of communication,” Trump once wrote in a sworn affidavit.

Per the Times, “the former aide who helped set up his Twitter account once told Politico that when Mr. Trump, who initially relied on aides to write his posts, began to tweet on his own, it was akin to the scene in the film “Jurassic Park” when the velociraptors learned to open doors.”

Trump was also known for taking even further actions against preserving communications, including demanding that aides not take notes, and even, according to one book, flushing documents down a White House toilet.

“I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes,” Trump reportedly once said, according to his former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II.

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Some politicians who don’t use modern communications are on the older side, and perhaps of a generation that never learned how to do such things. It was semi-controversial, in the 2008 campaign, that John McCain did not know how to use a computer. Earlier than that, Bill Clinton was the first president to ever send an email, although — ironically, considering his wife’s future controversy — Clinton did not use email regularly, even as of the time of his wife’s campaign.

Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.



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