Governors

ICYMI: DeSantis Wishes He Had Been ‘Louder’ In Opposing Trump

In case you’ve missed it, over the past few days Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have been fighting. On the latest installment of Trump vs. DeSantis, the latter said today on the Ruthless podcast that he wished he would have been “louder” in his criticism of the former president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“What could you do, you know, earlier? I think like, when COVID was first coming, we were actually engaged in it. I was telling Trump, ‘Stop the flights from China,’ because we didn’t know what we were dealing with. But, you know, I never thought in February, early March, that it would lead to locking down the country. I just didn’t. I didn’t think that was on the radar. I was dealing with, I mean I had Pence and the CDC director down in Port Everglades talking about cruise ships the second week of March. And no one was talking about shutting down the country. And I think if knowing now what I knew then, if that was a threat earlier, I would’ve been much louder about, you know, trying to say, ‘This is not.’

“Soon, DeSantis is going to have to make a decision — fully kiss the ring, or separate himself and infuriate Donald Trump even further,” said American Bridge 21st Century spokesperson Alexandra De Luca. “It seems like he’s choosing the latter. Let’s see how that plays out for him in 2024.”

Some background on the most recent developments in Trump and DeSantis’ fractured relationship:

  • Two days ago, Trump said politicians like DeSantis who refused to admit to having taken the vaccine booster, were “gutless.”  According to CNN, “Former President Donald Trump appeared to take a shot at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his refusal to disclose whether he’s received a Covid-19 booster shot in a new interview with the far-right channel One America News. Trump, who announced at an event last month that he had received a booster shot in addition to being vaccinated, decried ‘gutless’ politicians who have declined to be similarly transparent with their own booster status. His comments came just weeks after DeSantis sidestepped a question about being boosted during a December appearance on Fox Business – a response that his staff later claimed the governor had given because it was a ‘private medical’ matter. Trump’s comments come as the former President has made no secret of his frustration with DeSantis during private conversations with aides and allies. As previously reported by CNN, DeSantis has drawn Trump’s ire for refusing to publicly rule out a 2024 presidential bid in a GOP primary that also includes the former President. ‘I watched a couple politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get a booster?’ Because they had the vaccine and they’re answering like – in other words, the answer is ‘yes’ but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,’ Trump told OAN.”
  • Trump has been “seething” over DeSantis’ refusal to rule out a 2024 presidential run. According to CNN, “In a matter of months, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has gone from being a shining example in Donald Trump’s eyes of a MAGA leader molded in his image to an average politician who forgot his roots as he rose to Republican stardom.  People close to both men first noticed the palpable shift in Trump’s posture toward DeSantis earlier this year as enthusiasm for the Florida governor swelled among donors and GOP operatives who praised his laissez-faire response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The more DeSantis’ popularity soared, the more obsessed Trump became with receiving credit for his political celebrity. In April, Trump had told Fox News that DeSantis would ‘certainly’ be under consideration for the VP slot if he were to launch a third presidential campaign in 2024. By October, the former President was demanding that he publicly rule out a White House bid of his own. ‘It’s not that Trump is complaining about Ron… but he likes to remind Ron and others that he made him,’ said a person close to the former President, who added that Trump has been telling people around him that DeSantis could show more gratitude.”
  • Previously, Trump ally Roger Stone threatened to unseat DeSantis if he refused to investigate false claims of election fraud. ​​According to Insider: “Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally, threatened to run to unseat Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida if DeSantis does not conduct an audit of the 2020 election in the state.  ‘I heard governor Ron DeSantis say that Florida had the most honest election in our history in 2020, yet I know for a certainty there are one million phantom voters on the Florida voter rolls. These ‘voters’ simply do not exist,’ Stone wrote on his Telegram channel to some 20,000 subscribers on Sunday.  ‘If Gov. Ron DeSantis does not order a full audit of the Florida 2020 vote, I may be forced to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for governor in 2022. And Ron can kiss his arrogant Yalie ass goodbye #DefendFlorida,’ Stone added.  Stone also said on the social-media platform Gab on Sunday that he ‘may be forced to seek the Libertarian party nomination’ if DeSantis doesn’t look into his claims of voter fraud, appending the hashtag #ByeRon.”
  • To add insult to injury for Trump, in August, DeSantis praised President Biden and his administration for being “supportive” amid the Surfside Condo tragedy. According to Politico, “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday praised President Joe Biden’s federal response to the collapse of a condo building in the coastal suburb of Surfside — providing a moment of bipartisan bonhomie between the leader of the Democratic Party and a rising star within Donald Trump’s GOP.  Speaking at a command briefing near the site of the deadly disaster, DeSantis — seated beside Biden — said the president had ‘recognized the severity of this tragedy from day one, and you’ve been very supportive.’  The governor went on to assess that cooperation between local, state and federal partners seeking to manage the fallout from the building collapse ‘has been great,’ telling Biden: ‘You guys have not only been supportive at the federal level, but we’ve had no bureaucracy.’”

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