Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
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Ron DeSantis is a member of St. Elmo, a secret society he joined while a student at Yale University.
A fellow member told The Times that DeSantis rolled his eyes when she told her life story to the group.
DeSantis often speaks to GOP audiences about what he felt was an overly liberal environment at Yale.
As an undergraduate at Yale University, Ron DeSantis joined St. Elmo, one of the school’s secret societies.
Every week, DeSantis and the members of his diverse society class met for dinner at a townhouse near campus in New Haven, Connecticut, where they would each speak at-length about their backgrounds — in a ritual that could take several hours.
DeSantis leaned heavily on his life story as the product of a working-class family and baseball player who worked his way to one of the most elite universities in the country. But when other members spoke about their own biographies in the living room, DeSantis — now the governor of Florida and a 2024 Republican presidential contender — paid little attention to them, according to a New York Times report.
Cristina Sosa Noriega, a fellow member of St. Elmo, told The Times that DeSantis rolled his eyes when she spoke of her background as a Hispanic girl who was raised in San Antonio, Texas. Two additional members of the secret society also recounted DeSantis’ expression at the time, according to The Times.
“He seemed bored and disinterested,” Sosa Noriega told the newspaper. “It was like I wasn’t worth listening to. I had the feeling that he assumed that I didn’t deserve to be there.”
In response to The Times, a DeSantis spokesman denied that the incident occurred and added that it was “frankly absurd” that any individual would recall “such a detail from decades ago.” (DeSantis attended Yale from 1997 to 2001.)
In his 2023 book, “The Courage to Be Free,” DeSantis has been critical of his academic experience at both Yale and Harvard Law School, describing both campuses as ones grounded in liberal ideology and removed from the views of everyday people.
Since becoming governor in 2019, DeSantis has led the charge in enacting a slew of conservative laws in Florida affecting millions of lives, from limitations to how race can be taught in schools and restrictive voting laws to a six-week abortion ban and a law barring classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In the book, DeSantis describes his longstanding conservative beliefs as a foundation for what he would face years later as governor.
“In retrospect, Yale allowed me to see the future,” he wrote. “It just took me 20 years to realize it.”