Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is, far and away, the number one choice for president among Republican voters for 2024 if Donald Trump doesn’t run for the office. In one straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit, DeSantis topped the former president in a head-to-head match-up.
But that was one straw poll. In truth, Ron DeSantis is the odds-on favorite even this far out from the 2024 primary contests — as long as Trump doesn’t run. DeSantis appears to be ready to commit to a run regardless of Trump’s availability.
Naturally, the media is getting an early start warming up their smear machinery against DeSantis. Their problem so far has been poor marksmanship caused by faulty ammunition.
For example, Washington Post reporter Hannah Dreier tried to portray DeSantis’s response to the recent collapse of a condo building in south Florida as a failure of the governor’s leadership. After posting a summary of FEMA’s response to the disaster, she concluded that DeSantis had waited more than 24 hours to send assistance to the victims.
“There’s a saying in emergency management: The first 24 hours are the only 24 hours,” she tweeted. “FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn’t get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day.” The tweet garnered tens of thousands of “likes.”
That’s not entirely accurate.
This is missing important context, @hannahdreier never asked me for comment. emergency response started within minutes of the disaster led by Miami Dade County, amazing first responders. county mayor signed local emergency dec 4:40 & @GovRonDeSantis signed eo less than 1hr later https://t.co/3YkkumZDCC
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) June 27, 2021
If you’re a media smear merchant, you know you’ve really screwed the pooch when your fellow Democrats pile on.
Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat and former director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, was sharply critical of Dreier’s tweet. “As the former director in FL who voted for Biden this tweet below is 100% Malarkey. FEMA would have deployed the federally funded USAR teams, which are located in @MiamiDadeCounty. They were already there,” Moskowitz wrote.
Others appeared to accuse DeSantis of causing the building’s collapse, despite there being no known link between any of the governor’s actions and the building’s deterioration. Some reports have indicated that the condo towers [sic] developers were once accused of paying off local officials for permits.
As bad as this attempted assassination was, it can’t top the 60 Minutes hit piece on DeSantis that received withering criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike for its selective editing. The story suggested there was a link between a large donation by the supermarket chain Publix and the state using stores to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. At the time, CNN reported, “But, beyond spotlighting the public finance records, ’60 Minutes’ never offered any substantive evidence to support the significant assertion and link the donation with the partnership.”
The outrage was bipartisan.
After the report aired, the Democratic director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management and Democratic county mayor of Palm Beach County both publicly responded, saying that partnering with Publix was not suggested by anyone from DeSantis’ office.
In a Sunday night tweet directed at “60 Minutes,” Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz wrote, “I said this before and I’ll say it again. [Publix] was recommended by [Florida Division of Emergency Management] and [Florida Department of Public Health]. Period! Full stop!”
DeSantis has received grudging praise from Democrats for his handling of the coronavirus and especially for his rollout of the vaccines. He put age before race, ordering that senior citizens be given the vaccine before “essential workers” as recommended by the CDC. Florida’s economy recovered more quickly than almost anywhere else and is currently booming.
DeSantis has recently signed bills banning the teaching of critical race theory in schools and preventing boys from competing as girls in Florida athletics. His success has resulted in what’s being called “DeSantis Derangement Syndrome.” A Twitter account with that name has 40,000 followers already.
building is built in 1981, problem raised in 2018, deregulation is praised by Gov in 2019, Gov is blamed when it collapses in 2021 pic.twitter.com/5Mirm4BnRc
— DeSantis Derangement Syndrome (@DeSantisandCo) June 26, 2021
No one knows what the lay of the political landscape will be three months from now, much less three years. But it’s fair to say that DeSantis is off to a roaring start and will be hard to surpass.
As long as Trump doesn’t run.