A strategist’s sudden resignation from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ super PAC marks the latest shakeup in the GOP hopeful’s presidential bid.
“I cannot in good conscience stay affiliated…”
Late Saturday, Axiom Strategies founder Jeff Roe, who had run Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, resigned from his position as an adviser to the Never Back Down PAC with less than a month remaining before the Iowa caucus. Releasing a statement on X, he explained that the sudden decision came in direct response to a Washington Post piece that attributed statements of “mismanagement and conduct issues” to the PAC.
“I can’t believe it ended this way,” Roe captioned a screenshot of his own statement as he lamented to the team working on behalf of DeSantis, “I’m so sorry I can’t be there with you.”
“I am proud of the team we have built at Never Back Down and the incredible work and integrity of every devoted professional within the organization. This is a team of political warriors and their grind and dedication over the last nine months has helped put Governor Ron DeSantis in a strong position,” the strategist’s remarks began. “Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.'”
I can’t believe it ended this way. I’m so proud to have worked alongside these men and women at NBD 24/7 the past nine months to save the country. Good luck the next 28 days and a wake up. I’m so sorry I can’t be there with you. pic.twitter.com/Rh4oQQ1tAE
— Jeff Roe (@jeffroe) December 17, 2023
“I cannot in good conscience stay affiliated with Never Back Down given the statements in the Washington Post today. They are not true and an unwanted distraction at a critical time for Governor DeSantis,” he went on while maintaining his full support for the campaign. “I am resigning my position effective immediately. Governor DeSantis has been an exceptional governor and I hope he will be the 47th President of the United States. I wish the Governor, First Lady, and their entire team the best through the rest of the campaign.”
The piece from the Post that contended DeSantis’ “bold strategy is now in tatters” suggested that the governor’s campaign and the PAC had “aimed to function as an integrated whole — built with the candidate’s approval, advised by a single law firm, overseen by a board that included DeSantis confidants and seeded with $82.5 million that DeSantis had raised for his gubernatorial election. It was the first time a major campaign ceded so much of its operations to an entity it could not legally control.”
The newspaper cited “interviews with 22 people involved in the effort, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly and want to describe private events,” as outlined claims of a “troubled structure” regarding the campaign and strategy that allowed such considerable assets to go uncontrolled by the candidate.
Never Back Down chairman Scott Wagner remarked of recent firings, which included the separation of three individuals from Roe’s firm, “Following mismanagement and conduct issues including numerous unauthorized leaks containing false information, senior officials were terminated. ”
“We don’t have time to indulge false narratives from those with ulterior motives,” he added.
Wagner’s statement was later revised after he was contacted by an attorney representing the employees to read, “Following some opinions regarding mismanagement and conduct issues, including some who believed there appeared to be numerous unauthorized leaks containing false information, NBC and some senior officials parted ways.
Meanwhile, after initially posting “Jeff Roe is out–GAME OVER for DeSanctimonious!” to his Truth Social account Saturday, former President Donald Trump took another swipe Monday and claimed, “The Ron DeSanctimonious ‘team’ of misfits and grifters has largely quit his campaign to go on to greener pastures. It has been a terrible experience for them as they have watched their candidate fall violently from the sky like a wounded bird. Jeff Roe, his ‘chief strategist’ and head of his PAC, ‘Always Back Down,’ after having done major surgery on Ron’s wallet, couldn’t get out of town fast enough. Now Jeff can spend full time in Texas working with Ted Cruz, formerly known as Lyin’ Ted, who is working hard to get back the magic they had together in 2016!”
In his own statement, DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo said, “We’re not going to be distracted by more false narratives coming from unknown sources with harmful agendas. We appreciate the independent efforts of our outside partners at NBD as they are building a historic ground game for the fight ahead.”