Ron DeSantis Mocked With ‘Participation Trophy’ in Iowa

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A video of a man trying to present Ron DeSantis with a “participation trophy” in an apparent prank has gone viral on social media, racking up more than 1.4 million views on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The incident took place on Saturday when the Florida governor was campaigning in the small town of Atlantic, Iowa, ahead of the state’s Republican caucus on Monday.

DeSantis, once the clear main challenger to Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has fallen back substantially, with a recent poll by NBC News, Mediacom and Iowa newspaper The Des Moines Register placing him third with likely Republican caucus voters in the state, behind former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

DeSantis and his wife Casey DeSantis were about to address supporters in Atlantic on Saturday when a man approached holding a small trophy, and said: “Real quick before we get started thank you everyone, Gov. DeSantis I want to present to you this participation trophy. Probably won’t win the election, right, but proud of you for trying.”

This sparked some laughter from attendees, including Casey, before DeSantis replied: “I don’t need participation trophies. Sorry, buddy.”

Referring to DeSantis, the man, identified by The Daily Mail as Davram Stiefler from comedy due The Good Liars, added: “He’s special, he’s unique and he’s our little snowflake.” He was then led out of the room by two security guards.

A 24-second clip of the incident was shared on X by Washington Examiner reporter Samantha-Jo Roth, where it was viewed over 1.4 million times and received 5,900 likes.

Newsweek has reached out to The Good Liars and the DeSantis presidential campaign for comment by email.

The poll conducted by NBC News, Mediacom and The Des Moines Register between January 7 and 12, found Trump was the favored candidate of 48 percent of likely Iowa Republican caucus voters, followed by Haley on 20 percent and DeSantis with 16 percent.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a campaign stop on January 13, 2024, in Atlantic, Iowa. A man mockingly attempted to hand DeSantis a “participation trophy” during the event ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucus.
Joe Raedle/GETTY

On Wednesday, DeSantis and Haley faced off in the fifth Republican presidential debate which took place in Des Moines, Iowa, with Trump once again choosing not to attend. The Florida governor hit out at Haley who he described as representing a “corporatist element” in the GOP, and said she had “invited Disney to South Carolina, even though they were involved in trans-ing kids.”

Haley hit back at DeSantis claim that she would “cave to the woke mob every single time,” insisting “we shouldn’t have any gender transitions before the age of 18” and describing Disney as “woke for a long time.”

DeSantis has been engaged in a feud with Disney, Florida’s biggest employer, since 2022 when the company spoke out against his Parental Rights in Education legislation, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics.

It initially banned any discussion of sexuality or gender identity in Florida’s schools for children aged between 5 and 9, though was later extended to all ages within the Florida school system.

Just eight days after the Iowa caucus, Republican voters in New Hampshire will take part in the state’s primary, with Haley just four points behind Trump according to one recent poll.