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Rumors Of Trump-DeSantis Drama Ignite Media Firestorm

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022 - 07:39 PM

Last April, former President Trump said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis(R) "would be considered" as a 2024 running mate, should he run for reelection - adding that DeSantis was a "friend" and "great guy."

All of that has apparently changed according to several recent media reports of tension between the two - which appear to be supported by Trump insiders, as well as comments by both Trump and DeSantis that left-leaning outlets have used to fuel speculation. According to the reports, Trump has been not-so privately complaining about DeSantis' rapid political rise and a potential 2024 bid for the White House.

"President Trump is the one clearly picking a fight here, and it’s a fight that's too early, and unnecessary," said former adviser Sam Nunberg, who told The Hill he's neutral over the dustup between the two. "We’re not in Republican primary season. This is a fight for mid-2023. It’s not a fight to start having in 2022."

"If Donald Trump believes he is punching down when he's attacking Ron DeSantis, then why do it?" he added.

The alleged drama has ignited a media firestorm, as the left would of course love nothing more than for two of the GOP's biggest threats to go at each other ahead of midterms and the 2024 election.

An article published on Sunday by The New York Times offered a detailed accounting of an increasingly confrontational relationship between Trump and DeSantis

Likewise, a story published by Axios on Monday reporting that Trump has been privately disparaging DeSantis as “dull” and lacking in “personal charisma” found itself front-and-center on the conservative website Drudge Report.

And just last week, Trump appeared to take a thinly veiled shot at DeSantis for refusing to say publicly whether he has received his COVID-19 booster shot. In an interview with the conservative One America News Network, the former president slammed “gutless” politicians who won’t reveal their booster status, a comment that was widely viewed as aimed at the Florida governor.

The answer is yes, but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,” Trump said. “You got to say it. Whether you had it or not, say it.” -The Hill

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone went even further on Monday - posting on Telegram "President Donald Trump calls it on the nose. Ron DeSantis is fat slow and dumb. The Yale Harvard governor will never be president. DeSantis opposes constitutional open carry. Trump currently beats DeSantis 5 to 1 among Republicans nationally."

Prior to editing the post, Stone also wrote: "If you want to know where he was when he was missing ask Emerald Robinson. Or just wait for the video," implying DeSantis was having an affair with former Newsmax host Emerald Robinson.

DeSantis, meanwhile, took what some are calling a swipe at Trump in a recent interview on the conservative "Ruthless" podcast, where he said that he regretted not pushing back more aggressively against Trump's pandemic lockdown guidelines.

"I was probably the first governor in January of 2020 to call for travel restrictions from China. I supported President Trump when he did that," he said, adding "But we have to take a step back and acknowledge that those travel restrictions just didn't work."

That said, the Florida governor was blaming "people like" Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease - and key policymaker in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Facing reelection this year, DeSantis has been cautious when it comes to direct confrontation with Trump - whose loyal voter base he'll need to carry him into another term as Governor.

What tension?

DeSantis told "Ruthless" that the relationship had not soured - and blamed the media for amplifying rumors.

"You cannot fall for the bait," said DeSantis. "You know what they're trying to do, so just don't take it. Just keep on keeping on. We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022. We've gotta fight the left, and not only fight, but beat the left. And that's what we're doing in Florida."

Florida-based GOP strategist Ford O'Connell told The Hill that DeSantis has been successful of taking aspects of Trump's brand and making them his own - particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"What he’s done is he’s taken Donald Trump’s America First playbook and crafted it as a Florida First playbook."

"If you had told me that Ron DeSantis would display more political courage than Greg Abbott (R), I wouldn’t have believed it," O'Connell added, referring to the Texas governor. "The idea that DeSantis gave all the other Republicans a backbone and cover to do what’s best for their states is why conservatives are rewarding him now."

One Republican consultant with ties to Florida said that part of the interest in DeSantis as a future presidential candidate stems from the perception among many in the party that the Florida governor is effectively “Trump without the baggage.”

He’s a little more polished, I think. He’s got the Harvard credentials, he served in the military, he’s the governor of the third largest state, but he can still speak the language of the MAGA crowd,” the consultant said. “With Trump, there’s still a lot of drama, so I think it probably worries him that there’s this other guy who’s getting a lot of attention.

To be sure, DeSantis has tried to tamp down speculation about his ambitions for 2024. He officially kicked off his 2022 reelection bid in November and has said that he’s focused on the governor’s mansion. -The Hill

A distraction?

GOP media strategist Giancarlo Sopo, who worked on the Trump campaign's national Hispanic advertising push in 2020, said the recent stories over tension are part of an effort to distract the public from President Biden's political failings.

"The ‘Trump vs. DeSantis’ stories are not a coincidence. They’re a Beltway concoction meant to distract from Biden’s disastrous presidency," he tweeted, adding: "Don’t take the bait."

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