Trump's Five Point Plan To Stop DeSantis
Not a good plan
Trump believes DeSantis is the only candidate who could last with him in a long, bitter campaign for the 2024 GOP nomination. Trump hopes to scare DeSantis out of running, or at least damage him if he follows through on signs he will enter the race, top sources tell us.
Trump plans to target "Ron DeSanctimonious," as he delights in branding the governor, in five areas. They are:
DeSantis' past support for changes to Social Security and Medicare, including votes as a U.S. congressman to raise the eligibility age for Medicare.
Disloyalty to Trump after he helped DeSantis get elected governor in 2018. Trump also plans to pound DeSantis on likability.
Trump wants to cast DeSantis as a lackey of former House Speaker Paul Ryan. On Trump's social-media site, Truth Social, he attacked Ryan this week as a loser who "couldn't get elected dogcatcher," and said he should resign or be fired as a Fox Corp. board member.
DeSantis' response to COVID is a top Trump target, even though the governor is known for resisting mask mandates. Trump plans to attack DeSantis' caution in the earliest days of the pandemic — and try to fight the issue to a draw. A March 2020 headline in the Tampa Bay Times said: "DeSantis orders major shutdown of beaches, businesses in Broward, Palm Beach." (DeSantis pushes back on this.)
DeSantis took heat for muddled comments, in a Fox News interview last week, about whether to maintain financial and military support for Ukraine. Trump plans to portray DeSantis as wishy-washy on the war, while he toes the MAGA line of cutting aid.
"There’s a pre-Trump Ron and there’s a post-Trump Ron," a Trump confidante said of DeSantis. "He used to be a Reagan Republican. That’s where he comes from. He's now awkwardly trying to square his views up with the populist nationalist feeling of that party."
It’s bizarre to see a former president, beloved by the GOP base and still the likeliest nominee of his party, with fewer than twenty endorsements from the same Republican members of Congress who depended on his support to take their House majority. DeSantis isn’t just skipping CPAC; he’s doing so while promoting a book — the opposite of the typical approach for a conservative politician with something to sell (Mike Pompeo will be there to promote his). DeSantis’s book, The Courage to Be Free, is a classic campaign introductory — in that it exists to be signed rather than to be read — albeit one with the rare distinction of premiering at number one on the Amazon bestseller list.
DeSantis’s nationwide book tour is the first time many of his fans from outside the Sunshine State will have the chance to interact with him. They can finally judge whether he’s the introverted wallflower the Trump team accuses him of being. The implication is that, if you’re a politician who isn’t constantly tweeting or Truthing, are you even a politician in this day and age?
What CPAC could provide is a renewed illustration of just how dominant the Trumpian energy is among the conservatives who first fought him and then embraced him. The convention’s events are decidedly reflective of Trumpian priorities, featuring House Oversight chairman James Comer on “The Biden Crime Family,” “Finish The Wall, Build the Dome” with Trump advisor Stephen Miller, and “They Stole it From Us Legally,” an apparently retitled panel, to the chagrin of the officials on it.
One wonders what Ronald Reagan would think of his namesake dinner’s keynote speaker, Kari Lake. Tickets are still available.
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