This week, as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg considered indicting former President Donald Trump on a flimsy felony charge over a seven-year-old hush-money payment to former porn star Stormy Daniels, Trump placed his focus on the man he perceives as the truest threat to his political dominance: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump backers demanded that DeSantis sound off on the looming indictment; after a few days, DeSantis did, but not in ways that pleased Trump’s base. “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair,” DeSantis said. “But what I can speak to is if you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction and he chooses to go back many, many years ago to try to use something about porn star hush money payments, that’s an example of pursuing a political agenda.”
DeSantis’ harsh words for Bragg were insufficient, according to Trump, because he mentioned the rationale for Trump’s legal difficulties: his unfortunate penchant for sexual profligacy. This prompted Trump to take to Truth Social to accuse DeSantis of grooming underage girls and/or boys: “Ron DeSanctimonious will probably find out about FALSE ACCUSATIONS & FAKE STORIES sometime in the future, as he gets older, wiser, and better known, when he’s unfairly and illegally attacked by a woman, even classmates that are ‘underage’ (or possibly a man!).”
This was only the beginning. On Tuesday evening, excerpts broke from a DeSantis interview with Piers Morgan, in which DeSantis criticized Trump’s choices as president. “(T)he way we run the government I think is no daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board and I think that’s something that’s very important,” DeSantis said. He added that he “would have fired” Dr. Anthony Fauci, contra Trump, who made Fauci into the face of the federal government’s pandemic response.
So, the fight is on.
Right now, the advantage lies with Trump. He’s the center of gravity for all of politics. DeSantis led Trump 39% to 26% in the Monmouth poll in December 2022 — shortly after Trump’s candidates in Senate races lost across the board, while DeSantis cleaned up in Florida — but now trails Trump by a margin of 27% to 41% in the same poll.
Dealing with Trump will be difficult for any Republican candidate, for two specific reasons. First, many Republican voters have bought into the myth that Trump is not subject to political gravity: In the aftermath of the 2012 Obama reelection, widespread political sentiment held that Democrats would never lose another presidential election, and yet Trump somehow beat Hillary Clinton while saying anything and everything on his mind. Many Republicans still think of Trump as a winner, even after his losses in the 2018 midterm election, 2020 presidential election, 2021 Georgia Senate races and 2022 midterms. When they don’t, he drops in the polls, as in December 2022.
Second, Republicans rally to Trump whenever he is attacked by the Left. That’s right and proper when it comes to unjust prosecutions by rogue DAs. But many Republican voters have generalized to the extent that Trump is now considered off-limits to attack even by (SET ITAL) other Republicans, (END ITAL) since the Left (SET ITAL) might (END ITAL) use such attacks as a rationale to attack Trump, too. This is a nearly impossible needle to thread. How do you critique Trump without the base feeling that your attacks are helping the Left? Meanwhile, Trump has been granted the soft bigotry of low expectations by many voters: He can say literally anything about other candidates, and no one blinks an eye. It’s Marquess of Queensberry rules for Trump’s opponents, WWE folding-chair-to-the-back-of-the-head smackdowns for Trump himself.
So, what can DeSantis do? The answer: It’s not really up to DeSantis. It’s up to Republican voters. It will be DeSantis’ job to remind Republican voters that Trump has won precisely one election in the last seven years; it will be the job of Republican voters to acknowledge that reality. It will be DeSantis’ job to point out that Trump didn’t clean out the executive branch and gave Fauci power; it will be the job of Republican voters to acknowledge that such criticisms aren’t “unfair attacks.” It will be DeSantis’ job to remind voters of his record; it will be the job of Republican voters to look to record rather than tweetstorms for policy victory.
Will Republican voters use their heads rather than their hearts? We’ll find out soon enough.
Ben Shapiro, 39, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.” To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website.
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At this juncture I would support either. But I do think Trump has become so battered by the constant political torture from the DemocRats , that I think DeSantis would be a more energetic and troublesome candidate for the DemocRat propaganda lies. However, the real problem for the Republicans whoever that nominate to run is still vulnerable to the Democrat’s unfettered rigging of the Election. IMO … the problem of DemocRat election rigging matters more that whoever the Republicans select to run for POTUS.
I wish Republicans would come together on something constructive!
Instead of attacking each other on criticisms why not go after the Left and how they are destroying the nation and each Republican candidate put forward their achievements and policies on how to save this country!
All of the Republican candidates have merit and any of them would be a far cry better than Brandon!
One of Biden’s biggest failures was his promise to unite the country… how can Republicans speak to this and offer anything if they cannot even unite themselves!
Who wrote this hit job on Trump? I noticed they didn’t sign his/her name.
I thought DeSantis said, after reclaiming the govenership, that he would stay in FL, how about political integrity???
Bite-Me Biden has not formally announced he is running for re-election yet. However, even if he does, let’s not forget Michelle Obummer may run against Biden anyway. If that happens the Republicans will have a tough fight on their hands! Desantis has a great record in FL. Trump helped the USA after the abject failure of putting a SJW in office. So the question isn’t Trump or Desantis, but who could defeat the identity politics of potentially having the first black female president?
IMO, the DemocRats would be politically insane to put Biden up for a second term. They know that his unpopularity is a sure loss beyond what they can election rig.
DeSantis’s greatest challenge in response to Trump’s antics, will be to remain calm and respectful, and then fire back with indisputable facts that sound more like a sober assessment of Trump and less like leftwing mudslinging. A tall order, but I believe Governor DeSantis is up to the challenge.
If Trump really cared about this country, he would step aside and support DeSantis. Trump, in 2024,will be 78 which is too old to be considered a viable candidate by most voters, too self centered to be considered by many independents, and his acts of denigration against other conservative candidates only hurts Republican chances in the general.
The Republicans who rally around Trump are the same fools who supported a losing horse in 2020 and many of them likely won’t even show up at the polls should he get the nomination and expecting him to step away from the primaries will never allow this arrogant self centered blowhard to give up.
As a independent conservative who voted for him twice,2016 and 2020, I attribute his failure in 2020 to his poor campaign which he centered on what he accomplished and ignoring what was left to be done.
For the good of the country, step away from this run Mr. Trump, you will do the country more harm than good.
Age has nothing to do with. Pres. Trump’s mental state is a lot better than the current WH resident who might declare his rerun for office. Overall, if this nation is stupid enough to elect a person with mental problems, then it deserves to suffer the consequences.
Keep these facts in mind:
DeSantis has not yet declared. When he goes full-on the numbers will likely flip.
Re Monmouth poll: Monmouth is a fourth tear college. Surfing is the most popular major. They teach their students, “You want fries with that?”, as a career mantra. Spocoli got his PhD there. Is that the organization to believe?
Why isn’t anybody talking about Mike Pompeo as the Republican candidate for President! He is the perfect person to be our next President to clean up the Swamp and remind Russia, China, Iran and North Korea who the real super power is: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Mr. Pompeo has the education (first in his class at West Point), Military background, foreign intelligence as past CIA director, International relations experience, and guts to Get America back to its exceptional greatness from the disaster of the Biden administration!
I CHOSE MIKE!
Trump already has a nickname picked out for Ron DeSantis. I like Trump and would vote for him again but he should have learned his lesson by now, stick to debating policies and not calling people debasing names. It hurts his image with a lot of voters and gives the biased media ammuntion to use against him.
Bragg is an incompetent baboon. Trump needs to stay home and DeSantis needs to stay as our governor.
Allowing Trump to run will only ensure four more years of Biden. Trump cannot win in the
general election. Independents and conservative Dems who would vote for DeSantis will
not vote for Trump. Trump needs to move on, he was a Apprentice president who got fired.
Trump was a good POTUS …. especially considering all the phony and false allegations thrown. And the news media majority loved that scenario … pumped up their profitability. I still think Trump was/is many times over a better and more capable POTUS than Biden and Obama … and I would support him if he is nominated by the GPO to run for POTUS in the next such election. But, I’m thinking that DeSantis would be a better and stronger viable nominee and future POTUS. Heck, a demented oyster would be an improvement over Biden!!!!
We need an actual pro 2A President. Trump was not.
When did Desantis declare he was running? Did I miss something?
Don’t fight, be friends. DeSantis can run for president in 2028. Run together this time.
This combination team would be the best for the Republicans but it won’t happen because of the lack of unity within the party.
DeSantis said No!
Exactly DeSantis can run in 2028 for 2 terms. He should be V P in 24 with Trump President
DeSantis said no to second place!!! He made it clear that he prefers the executive position.
I really wish they would get together to run together they would make a great team instead of fighting they could win the White House for the people of this country and get the Dems out that means Biden and his VP. President Trump and DeSantis could win with no problem hope they can sit down together and run together to save this country.
Too difficult for two strong personalities. Trump had troubles keeping staff. Difficult to work with/for.
Am grateful to President Trump for his strong leadership, especially with threats from other countries. His business sense served America well. It will be a difficult decision in primaries. There is at least one other Repub. candidate in this race that would make a very good President of US.
My thoughts exactly!
Not my thoughts.
I’m with Randall!!
I would like to see Trump win with DiSantis as VP then after that term, DiSantis elected as president for the next 8 years.
This country needs to look hard at and consider Mike Pompeo as Republican candidate. He has operated his own business, he served in the military protecting this country and he served as our Secretary of State…successfully and as Director of the CIA. A strong patriot who has experience in dealing with difficulties of DC’s government. I would vote for Pompeo over Trump…but I will vote for Trump if he wins the primaries.
This man talks like DeSantis is NEW to US Congress. He was the FL 6th congressional district representative to the US House 2013-2018. What exactly did he do there then that makes him so valuable he should hold the US Presidency now? Actions speak louder than words. Washington is already over flowing with smooth talkers working at a steady pace, trashing the voters opinions and the country.
Obama was President and what experience did he have that qualified him ? His best qualification was that he talked alot.
Since not much has been done to secure fair and free elections it’s really a moot issue which person the republicans end up with in the top spot. My pick would be Trump, hoping he has learned to keep his comments to a civil level. Trump will need the house and senate for all 4 years to try to get us back on track. If we survive the 4 years of Biden it will take the 4 years to right the ship. I don’t think any other republican can come close to accomplishing what Trump can. Biden supposedly got 15 million more votes than Obama did his second term. The only reason Trump won in 2016 is because the democrats under estimated how many votes Trump would get. They couldn’t postpone the outcome and print more ballots because COVD had not been invented yet. If you keep up with world events, you realize that Biden has ruined the U.S.
Sadly, I get the feeling that if the Republicans want to win the next POTUS election, they must find a successful way to stop the election rigging of the DemocRats. And I’m not confident this is in the making.
That’s what made America , competition. Will be between two grown men keep it clean and focused on how well America is doing and the world at this time ! Lord knows you have enough sound bites and video bloopers to win the next two elections or maybe America wants that to have your children not even know their sex your challenger hiding in the basement , half of America not to have free speech take your pick America .
I’m all for competition. Let all the GOP candidates lay out their plans for what policies they will implement and then hopefully the American people will make an intelligent choice.
it’s a shame bc there doesn’t have to be a riff between the two. actually Trump should continue his 2nd term bc it was taken away from him. he has dealth with the world whereas desantis dealth with a state. desantis is younger and can learn more from trump then take the spot lite in 2028