Governors

ICYMI: DeSantis and Trump’s battle to be “King of Florida”

Late last week, American Bridge 21st Century highlighted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ comments on Ruthless — a podcast run by a longtime former Mitch McConnell aide — in which he said he regretted not being “louder” in his criticism of Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporters picked up on the division — including the connection to McConnell, famously not Donald Trump’s biggest fan — and over the long weekend multiple reports had emerged with additional details of the growing rift between the two likely 2024 Republican presidential candidates:

New York Times: Who Is King of Florida? Tensions Rise Between Trump and a Former Acolyte.

  • “Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man Mr. Trump believes he put on the map, has been acting far less like an acolyte and more like a future competitor, Mr. Trump complains. With his stock rising fast in the party, the governor has conspicuously refrained from saying he would stand aside if Mr. Trump runs for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.”
  • “That long-stewing resentment burst into public view recently in a dispute over a seemingly unrelated topic: Covid policies. After Mr. DeSantis refused to reveal his full Covid vaccination history, the former president publicly acknowledged he had received a booster. Last week, he seemed to swipe at Mr. DeSantis by blasting as ‘gutless’ politicians who dodge the question out of fear of blowback from vaccine skeptics.”
  • “As with other Republicans he has endorsed, the former president appears to take a kind of ownership interest in Mr. DeSantis — and to believe that he is owed dividends and deference.”

Axios: Trump dogs “dull” DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

  • “Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a ‘dull personalit’ and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who’ve recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor.”
  • “The source said Trump makes a point of saying he isn’t worried about the Florida governor as a potential 2024 rival.”
  • “‘He says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality,’ the source added.”

Politico: DeSantis uses conservative lifeline as Trump sours on him

  • “That attention comes as DeSantis has also drawn Trump’s ire. Trump has repeatedly said he would beat DeSantis in a GOP primary, and just last week on the conservative One America News Network called politicians who will not say if they have gotten the Covid-19 booster shot ‘gutless’ — a comment widely seen as directed at DeSantis, who has waffled when asked about the issue though has said he’s been vaccinated.”
  • “Trump’s team is also eager to highlight the role he played in making DeSantis a national Republican figure.”

NBC News: Trump’s advisers point the finger at McConnell as reports of DeSantis feud swirl

  • “When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis went on a top political podcast last week, he panned the Covid lockdowns former President Donald Trump encouraged early in the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • “The remarks made for irresistible headlines — the two GOP heavyweights and possible 2024 contenders were feuding. Just days before, Trump had appeared to take a swipe at DeSantis, calling politicians who have refused to reveal their vaccination status ‘gutless.’”

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