The GOP establishment and their allies on the left would love nothing more than a bloody, intraparty fight between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Although Trump is still the clear frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, after DeSantis won reelection to Florida’s governorship by a landslide, many right-wing voters and pundits are considering jumping ship from Trump to DeSantis.
Since Election Day — or week, rather — conservative media outlets have put out article after article arguing Trump’s days are over, and DeSantis’s have just begun. National Review types insist that Trump simply can’t win elections and they’re tired of talking about him. The Washington Examiner ran an editorial clearly throwing its hat in for DeSantis, comparing “booming, broad-coattailed” DeSantis to “ungrammatical sour-grapes” Trump.
Even after NeverTrump RINO (Republican In Name Only) Jonah Goldberg whined endlessly about DeSantis’s first run for governor, he’s now saying that he could get behind the “relatively normal Republican” because he’ll be good for business. Are Goldberg’s Trump-Derangement-Syndrome glasses blinding him to the economic realities of the Trump era?
In the days following the GOP’s lackluster showing in the midterm elections (which right-wing pundits were quick to pin on the former president), Trump has made repeated attacks against DeSantis including describing him as “Ron DeSanctimonious,” and as “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations.” DeSantis, to his credit, has remained largely silent.
But at a press conference Tuesday, DeSantis was asked about Trump’s “less than flattering comments” by a reporter.
While the Daily Signal framed DeSantis’s answer as a response to Trump, the Florida governor turned the question into an attack on the media instead:
Well, you know, one of the things I’ve learned — like I learned in this job is when you’re — when you’re leading, when you’re getting — getting things done, you take incoming fire. That’s just the nature of it. I roll out of bed in the morning, I’ve got corporate media outlets that have a spasm just the fact that I’m getting up in the morning. And it’s constantly attacking. And this is just what’s happened. I don’t think any governor got attacked more, particularly by corporate media, than me over my four-year term. And yet, I think what you — what you learn is, all that’s just noise. And really what matters is, are you leading, are you getting in front of issues, are you delivering results for people, and are you standing up for folks? And if you do that, then none of that stuff matters. And — and that’s what we’ve done. We focused on results and leadership. And, you know, at the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.
Kudos to Ron DeSantis for refusing to take the bait. Nowhere in his answer did the governor reference Trump, which was the right move. While some conservative media outlets might characterize DeSantis’s comments as a “brushing off” or “clapping back” at Trump, they fail to recognize DeSantis’s strategy: attack his real opponents instead of engaging in silly, intraparty strife.
And that’s what right-wing voters should keep in mind as we enter the 2024 presidential election cycle. Right now, powerful special interests are working overtime to pit DeSantis and Trump supporters against each other, divide the party, and take back control from the anti-establishment wing. Don’t let them.