Donald Trump vs. Ron DeSantis Is Not the Distraction the GOP Needs Right Now

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

It is easy to tell who scares the corporate media: Just watch who they obsess over. Right now, it is two people. Their ongoing obsession with President Donald Trump has never faded. They believe he is an effective foil in elections, even though running against Trump when he was not on the ballot failed dismally in the Virginia election. The other, of course, is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. When they are not trying to convince you he is “worse than Orange Hitler,” they are mischaracterizing his Covid response—or writing toothless, deliberately misleading hit pieces.


Now the media is claiming that Trump and DeSantis are in conflict. Sunday, Axios reported that Trump is trashing DeSantis in private conversations. According to Jonathon Swan’s anonymous source:

  • Trump has criticized DeSantis on multiple occasions.
  • Trump makes a point of saying he isn’t worried about the Florida governor as a potential 2024 rival.
  • Trump says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality.

A second source told Swan that Trump is frustrated that DeSantis won’t rule out running in 2024 as several other potential GOP candidates have. CNN reports that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Josh Hawley, and Senator Tim Scott have all indicated they will not run and will support Trump if he pursues the nomination. DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Ted Cruz, and Vice President Mike Pence have not made such statements.

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The New York Times also reports that the Florida governor and his most notable resident are brawling. Maggie Haberman and Johnathan Martin are delighting in a potential dust-up. In an exclusive quote for a book by a Times reporter, Trump reportedly said, “Look, I helped Ron DeSantis at a level that nobody’s ever seen before.” Trump also said he believes Mr. DeSantis “didn’t have a chance” of winning without his help.

These stories are not without a basis in current events. After Trump disclosed that he took a booster shot in a recent appearance with Bill O’Reilly, he was booed. Afterward, he appeared to throw shade at other Republicans who refused to disclose their vaccination status, calling them “gutless.” Presumably, he was alluding to DeSantis, who has declined to provide that information on several occasions. DeSantis clapped back, criticizing the early Covid response in a podcast interview. The Florida governor said he would have opposed the calls for lockdowns more forcefully if he had known then what he knows now.


The corporate media will amp this potential conflict for all it is worth because they need to distract from the Biden dumpster fire heading into the midterms. Setting up a dispute between two alpha males on the Republican side is one way to do that. The media going after DeSantis rather than one of the other holdouts is telling.

That conservative firebrand Ann Coulter decided to weigh in is also interesting. The left and the media mocked Coulter for being one of candidate Trump’s first supporters and predicting he would win in 2016. She famously fell out with him when he failed to build the border wall. Following his booster shot insult, Coulter tweeted:

When contacted by The New York Times, she responded: “Trump is done. You guys should stop obsessing over him.” Coulter has a record of making accurate political predictions. And if the argument comes down to the Covid response, DeSantis has an edge. While the Florida governor was preparing to open his economy, President Trump was tearing down Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for opening his state.

Related: In 2024, Are Americans Really Going to Have to Deal With a Geriatric Grudge Match?

For the duration of the response, DeSantis always took the lead in announcing Covid policy. Trump outsourced his Covid policymaking to Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the healthcare bureaucracy. By the time it went sideways—because it solely focused on eradicating a virus that was never getting eliminated—it was too late. The media was solidly on the side of Fauci and Birx simply because their narrative opposed Trump’s. It had everything to do with politics and nothing to do with the health and prosperity of Americans.


No rational health policies that considered the full scope of public health—such as one focused protection—could be discussed. Red and blue states took opposite approaches, and it set up many of the fights over Covid policy Americans are still fighting today. Trump’s Covid advisor, Dr. Scott Atlas, was marginalized and attacked. In 2024, Trump may want to talk about vaccines that will be obsolete and his decision to cut off travel from China in 2020, but that won’t overshadow the failures in leadership that made Dr. Anthony Fauci the most out-of-control bureaucrat in modern American history.

Rather than giving the media (that he supposedly detests) fodder to divide Republicans by making every member of the GOP take a side, maybe Trump should knock it off. There is an election in 2022 before anyone needs to worry about 2024. Plus, he’s getting in the age range where buying green bananas is risky. Perhaps he should consider taking on the role of the America First kingmaker rather than sending the country careening toward a grudge match with Hillary Clinton in 2024. Trump’s pride and need for fealty do not supersede the need to maintain GOP leadership in Florida and retake the House to end the disastrous Biden agenda.



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