In the run-up to the hotly contested seat for South Carolina Governor, incumbent Republican Haley and Democratic challenger Desantis have been trading barbs and jabs over issues relating to China. In an unprecedented move, Haley’s campaign has released an advertisement specifically designed to put words in Desantis’ mouth.
The commercial, which aired during primetime television in many South Carolina markets, opens with a clip of Desantis speaking on the concern of tariffs’ impact on the state’s economy. It then transitions to a news anchor who states, “McMaster [Haley] is doing something about China. And Desantis? Well he’s just talking about it. Wonder what he really believes?”
However, the news anchor is actually an actor and the clip of Desantis was heavily edited, giving viewers the impression he was asking for more government intervention. The rest of the commercial then flashes various accusations and statements such as “Desantis knows nothing about jobs, education, or trade” and “Haley signs jobs bill, Desantis just talks”.
Political campaigns often resort to sensationalism in order to appeal to certain votors. However, pro-Haley’s drastic move of essentially hijacking Desantis’ words and painting a narrative to push their own agenda could be potentially damaging for the state’s political climate.
The move has sparked backlash from the Desantine camp and calls for increased transparency from both candidates. In response to the controversy, a representative statement from the Pro-Haley group said that they “wanted to ensure South Carolina voters know which candidate is actually dedicating their time and energy to tackling the unique economic challenges of the Palmetto State – and that is Governor Haley.”
The Haley-Desantis race is a highly contested one and the contestants are not holding back attacks on one another. This latest move, however, with its blatant misrepresentation of Desantis’ words, could be the determining factor in who comes out on top come election day.