Kari Lake’s ‘BDE’ comment explained: 'DeSantis and Trump both have it', she says

Bruno Cooke August 15, 2022
Kari Lake’s ‘BDE’ comment explained: 'DeSantis and Trump both have it', she says
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images


During a speech at the Turning Point USA and Turning Point Ation Unite And Win rally yesterday (Monday, August 14, 2022), Kari Lake said that Florida governor Ron DeSantis has “BDE.”

Donald Trump also has it, according to the former television news anchor’s claims.

She apologised to the moms in the audience, while also telling them to ask their children what “BDE” is. However, many will have been able to glean what the acronym means after Lake said she calls it “Big DeSantis Energy.”

Kari has since tweeted that Twitter is “on fire” because of her comments. What is “BDE,” and what does she mean when she says Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump have it?

Kari Lake’s ‘BDE’ comment explained

Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

During her speech yesterday, Kari said Florida governor Ron DeSantis and former POTUS Donald Trump have “BDE.”

She also said they have the “same kind of ‘BDE’ that we want all our elected leaders to have.”

Kari likes to call whatever she’s talking about “Big DeSantis Energy,” but “BDE” actually stands for “Big D**k Energy.”

The Guardian calls it “an attitude,” “a swagger,” “a vibe,” and notes that your physical anatomy doesn’t dictate whether or not you can have it. In other words, Kari Lake isn’t actually commenting on the endowments of DeSantis or Trump, even if that’s what it sounds like.

What does she mean by it?

“BDE” dates back to 2018, at least. That’s the year Vox penned its deep dive on the subject, describing it as “the meme we need in 2018.”

“If you look hard enough,” it reads, “it’s everywhere around you. So is its absence.” It is the “unavoidable subject of the minute,” and “says a lot about us and what we value.”

There has been some debate over the nebulous, nonliteral meaning of “BDE,” but there is a broad consensus among the Internet at large. It involves confidence, or at least the appearance of it. 

The Verge notes its inherent subjectivity and intangibility while also arguing that Pete Davidson’s behavior during a particular 2018 interview with Jimmy Fallon perfectly demonstrates it: “enjoying something earnestly and openly, even if it’s not to your benefit.”

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

How has the Internet reacted to Kari Lake saying DeSantis and Trump have ‘BDE’?

Reactions vary, and are likely split along party lines. “My god this is embarrassing,” reads one of the more popular comments.

Another notes that making headlines equals “FREE advertising” and calls Lake a “4-D genius.”

There are also plenty of “Let’s Go Kari” comments and people saying how much they’re looking forward to Kari being their governor. 

She announced she is running for governor of Arizona last year, and won the Republican primary on August 2, 2022.

Chad and JT Go Deep | Official Trailer | Netflix

Chad and JT Go Deep | Official Trailer | Netflix

Anyone can have it

It’s apparently Kari’s view that Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump have “BDE.”

And since the advent of the phrase, people have been playing at placing others on either side of the line. Chris Hemsworth doesn’t, says Vice; Rihanna, Cardi B and Cate Blanchett do, argues The Verge.

Justin Theroux and Idris Elba have it, while Justin Timberlake may not, per The Cut. And Anthony Bordain was the OG when it comes “BDE,” whereas Chris Pratt’s “smarm” disqualifies him, intones Vox. Even cities can have it – or not have it – apparently.

The Guardian, interestingly, says unequivocally that Donald Trump doesn’t have it. Nor do Jared or Ivanka. But Scaramucci, Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon do… And what about Ron DeSantis? Kari Lake might have been the first person to say one way or the other. And for her, at least, he does.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.