Ron DeSantis accidentally quotes Budweiser ad as he pulls out of presidential race

Ron DeSantis in Iowa

Ron DeSantis attributed a quote to Winston Churchill while announcing the end of his presidential campaign – only the quote didn’t come from Churchill. It came from a Budweiser advert.

The Florida Governor announced on Sunday (21 January) that he would be withdrawing from the race for Republican presidential nomination after seven months of campaigning, and would be putting his support behind Donald Trump.

Announcing the news in a video posted to X, DeSantis told supporters: “Winston Churchill once remarked that, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’ While this campaign has ended, the mission continues.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who once was a top candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential race, stands at a podium next to former president Donald Trump
Ron DeSantis ended his 2024 Republican presidential nominee campaign by endorsing Donald Trump – and quoting a Budweiser advert. (Getty)

“Down here in Florida, we will continue to show the country how to lead. Thank you and God bless.”

Shortly after the announcement was posted to X, a community note briefly appeared underneath it, noting that there’s no record of Churchill ever saying that. There is, however, an old Budweiser advert that does.

And it’s true. According to the International Churchill Society, the quote DeSantis used in his speech is one that’s often falsely attributed to the former UK Prime Minister.

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On their website, the International Churchill Society says that they could “find no attribution” for the quote, which is “broadly attributed to Winston Churchill” but “found nowhere in his canon.”

They also note that the quote is has an almost equal number of sources accrediting the quote to Abraham Lincoln, though they could find no solid evidence that Lincoln had ever said it, either.

It wasn’t long before DeSantis skeptics uncovered the true source of the quote, as a sort of send-off for the signator of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

In fact, the quote Ron DeSantis used comes from an advert for Budweiser that was printed in a 1939 edition of Life Magazine.

The original advert reads: “Men with the spirit of youth pioneered our America… men with vision and sturdy confidence. They found contentment in the thrill of action, knowing that success was never final and failure never fatal. 

“It was courage that counted. Isn’t opportunity in America today greater than it was in the days of our grateful forefathers?”

The beautiful irony in all of this is that, the company that DeSantis accidentally quoted is the same one that he ordered Florida officials to investigate last summer, after they launched a brand deal with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Mulvaney, a TikTok star best known for her ‘Days of Girlhood’ series that documented her transition, landed a one-off Bud Light brand deal.

All she had to do was upload a sponsored post to her own personal Instagram account that would promote Bud Light. But it wasn’t long before all hell broke loose among right-wingers.

Angry mobs smashed Bud Light displays in shops, furious social media users called for a boycott of the beer company, and musician Kid Rock posted a video of himself shooting cans of the beer to make some sort of anti-trans point.

The transphobic response to Bud Light was so intense that DeSantis himself told Florida officials to launch an investigation into Bud Light’s parent company to see if it “breached its legal duties to shareholders” by associating the brand with “radical social ideologies.”

It’s as poetic an end to DeSantis’s campaign as one could hope for.

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