Have you seen that high school yearbook quote from Ron DeSantis on social media? It’s been spreading on Twitter this week reading, “My Mount Rushmore is Jesus, Sir-Mixes-a-Lot, and Nintendo 64.” But it’s completely fake.
The original photo of the old high school yearbook was shared on Reddit back in April with the caption, “I went to high school with Ronald DeSantis and found my yearbooks.” But as you can see from the original image below, there’s no quote.
The original yearbook photo only includes the name Ronald DeSantis under his photo and there’s no quotation at all. Someone clearly used software like Photoshop to create the quote as a joke, but people are now sharing it online as though it’s real.
“’Sir-Mixes-a-Lot’ should automatically disqualify you from running for office,” one Twitter user wrote on Sunday.
Obviously, the musician being referenced is Sir-Mix-a-Lot, whose 1992 hit song “Baby Got Back,” went double platinum and won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. And while it’s not clear whether DeSantis was a fan of the musician when he was in high school during the 1990s, he never uttered this particular phrase.
The oldest instance of the fake yearbook quote being shared that I could find dates from May 25, though it’s entirely possible that it’s older. This isn’t the first time that someone has photoshopped a fake quote into an old photo of DeSantis, with another image making a joke about the Florida governor eating pudding with his fingers, an incident that first surfaced in the media a few months ago but one he denies.
The original Reddit post includes other photos of the high school yearbook, including a short biography of DeSantis that emphasizes his academic and athletic achievements.
“Ron ‘D’ DeSantis was awarded the AP American History Award in June of 1996, the Princeton Book Award along with athletic awards including the Steve Georgiadis Hitting Award, Tampa Tribune All-County Team and the St. Petersburg Times All-County Selection,” the yearbook reads.
He was also asked to be part of the All-Pinellas County Conference Team for baseball his sophomore and junior year and was inducted into the Naitonal Honor Society his junior year. He also worked at Kash N’ Karry and currently plays baseball for the Falcons,” the yearbook continues.
DeSantis wants to become the Republican nominee for president but still trails former president Donald Trump by a significant margin. Trump has a commanding lead and is favored by 52% of Republicans, according to the national polling average maintained by FiveThirtyEight. DeSantis is a distant second with 23% and former vice president Mike Pence is in third with just 6%.
The first Republican primary debate is scheduled for August 23, and Iowa will hold the country’s first caucus in January 2024, which means DeSantis will have to convert Republican voters relatively quickly if he wants any chance to win the nomination.
But DeSantis has chosen an odd tactic to differentiate himself. Rather than trying to run as a more moderate Republican, the Florida governor wants to be known as further to the right than Trump. It’s a counterintuitive decision, given the fact that conventional wisdom says Americans want a more moderate candidate. But nobody knows if it will work. Trump won the White House in 2016, after all, by delivering a message of extremism—whether it was trying to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. or calling Mexicans rapists.
Yes, Trump did lose the popular vote count by almost 3 million votes in 2016. But that probably further solidifies the resolve of DeSantis to appear even more extreme—betting that he doesn’t need the will of the majority to take the presidency. Whether it’s anti-trans legislation or censoring the kinds of history U.S. school kids can be taught, DeSantis is positioning himself as even more right-wing than Trump. Only time will tell whether it works for him.