Former President Trump Swipes at Gov. DeSantis, who Doesn’t Sound too Worried
By Yehudit Garmaise
Former President Donald Trump, who lives in mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, in the southern part of the state, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who lives with his family in the governor’s mansion in the northern part of the state, in Tallahassee, seem to be eyeing both each other warily, like boxers getting ready to fight.
“They’re the two most important leaders in the Republican Party,” Brian Ballard, a longtime Florida lobbyist with connections to both Trump and Gov. DeSantis, told the New York Times.
While Trump often claims that his supporters “are begging him to run,” many Republicans are actually looking for a fresh face, after feeling worn down by the former president’s combativeness, his tone-deafness, and the drama he created by his continued claims that the 2020 election was stolen, which sadly culminated in his likely leadership in the Jan. 6 storming of the US Congress as it was attempting to certify the Joe Biden’s victory.
When discussing possible GOP nominees in 2024, many Republicans see Trump, who is 75 now, as old news, but speak with cautious excitement about Gov. DeSantis, who is 43, a religious Catholic, supportive of Israel, and an outspoken defendant of personal freedoms that many Americans feel the government trampled on throughout the pandemic.
“[DeSantis] is Trump but a little smarter, more disciplined, and brusque without being too brusque,” Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor told the New York Times.
While political commentator Ben Shapiro often summed up Trump by saying that “he had good policies, but bad tweets,” Gov. DeSantis is more savvy, less impulsive, a Navy veteran who served in Iraq, and a graduate of Yale, whose rampant atheism and lack of patriotism he has criticized.
Trump, however, who feels that he helped Gov. DeSantis transform himself from a little-known Congressman, to a popular governor, now seems to feel that the Florida governor should stay grateful and non-threatening to Trump, who has been complaining about the Florida governor's chutzpah.
Unlike other possible GOP nominees, such as former UN Ambassador Nikki Halley, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Gov. DeSantis has not taken care to say said that he would not challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, Axios reported.
With his usual tiresome tactic to attack and name-call anyone who threatens him, Trump has also said DeSantis is an “ingrate with a no personal charisma and dull personality.”
Last week, for instance, when Gov. DeSantis decline to reveal whether he received his COVID booster shot, Trump, who had publicly acknowledged that he had received his booster, lashed out publicly at the Florida governor, called him “gutless,” and accused him of dodging the question to avoid the judgements of the anti-vaxxers and others who adore him.
“I've done whatever I did,” Gov. DeSantis said vaguely in December when asked whether he had received the booster. “The normal shot."
President Trump, whose administration helped develop the vaccines in record time through Operation Warp Speed, has dismissed vaccine conspiracy theories, and has said that “the vaccine worked” and that they do not cause any harm.
On Friday, Gov. DeSantis shot back by saying that one his biggest regrets was not speaking out "much louder" in March 2020, when Trump advised the American public to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In fact, Gov. DeSantis’s complaints about lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and masks since the start of the pandemic, not only made him a celebrity politician of the far right, but drew many Americans during the pandemic to move to Florida, which became the most moved-to state of 2021.
When he was president, Trump had the power to demand total loyalty from his underlings, however, Gov. DeSantis, who now often appears on FoxNews, as Trump once did, has reportedly told friends that Trump’s expectation that everyone in the Republican party accede to his desire to run in 2024 is not reasonable, nor required.
Conservative commentator Anne Coulter, who had a falling out with Trump, like so many others have had, told the New York Times, “Trump is done. You guys should stop obsessing over him.”
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