There has been a barrage of political fireworks from former President Trump in recent weeks with gunfire exchanges Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“The polls have collapsed,” Trump said of DeSantis in a statement last week, as the former president noted his growing lead over the Florida governor in the latest national polls in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
“Man, he’s down like a rock,” Trump, who excels in the art of straight politics, said Saturday in Waco, Texas, as he held his first campaign rally of the year.
In an interview on Fox News Channel “Hannity” On Monday night, the former president claimed DeSantis was “now being crushed at the polls.”
DeSantis, who has seen his standing with conservatives across the country rise in recent years and who won a 19-point landslide in Florida’s gubernatorial re-election in November, remains on the sidelines in 2024.
However, he is widely expected to enter the race, and in an interview last week on Fox Nation, the Florida governor said “stay tuned” when asked about his political future. Trump, who launched his third White House campaign in November, appears to view DeSantis as his main challenger. He has stepped up attacks on the Florida governor as his legal troubles mount amid looming indictments.
DeSantis allies have argued so Trump attacks On the governor of Florida is a sign of weakness.
“Governor DeSantis has not officially entered the race for the White House, and it’s pretty clear that DeSantis lives rent-free in Trump’s head and is the only person who can beat the former president. This is a two-man race, and Trump knows it. Governor DeSantis has a growing base of support in voting states.” Major early.
Perrin, a senior communications official in the Trump White House and on the former president’s 2020 re-election team, is now the director of communications for Never Back Down, a new PAC allied with DeSantis and staffed by many campaign heavyweights.
She described that “Never Back Down is a movement of unparalleled enthusiasm for the governor to enter the race and will propel Governor DeSantis into the White House.”
Sources in DeSantis’ broader orbit said any presidential campaign would begin in late spring or early summer, after the end of Florida’s current legislative session. However, the governor’s recent stops in early-voting Iowa and Nevada and a trip next month to New Hampshire fuel more speculation in 2024.
In his speeches this year, the governor laid out his many victories in conservative politics in Florida as a roadmap for the entire nation. In addition, he’s been traveling around the country, highlighting his “Florida Outline” and promoting his newly released memoir, “The Courage to Be Free.”
However, DeSantis poll numbers early 2024 Republican presidential nomination The race has softened in recent weeks, as Trump made gains. Additionally, he has received a lot of rejection from fellow Republicans due to recent comments calling Russia’s war against Ukraine a “territorial dispute” and saying “I don’t think it’s in our interest to get into a proxy war with China.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2016 and is seriously considering another bid for the White House, took aim at DeSantis’ comments Monday at a New Hampshire town hall, calling them “naive” and urging that “someone Make a wake-up call to Tallahassee.”
Some in DeSantis’ broader political orbit are raising concerns about the latest developments.
A Republican activist, who requested anonymity to speak more freely, warned that DeSantis “hasn’t done anything in the last two weeks or so to bolster support or build significant trust in people.”
“There’s been some anxiety and anxiety over the last couple of weeks,” a longtime GOP strategist with close ties to the Republican donor class told Fox News.
“I think some people who know him have always had a certain degree of skepticism about his ability to translate what happened in Florida on a larger scale … whether he can withstand the intensity and the bright lights of the campaign as it ramps up,” added the strategist, who also asked not to be disclosed. his identity.
However, the strategist emphasized that “there is a significant subset of the donor class that is looking for an alternative to Trump and I think people still feel DeSantis represents the best option in that regard.”
DeSantis, thanks to his aggressive culture wars over the past two years targeting the media, businesses and teachers unions, and his outspokenness against the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, has cemented his image as a political fighter. Until last week, DeSantis had mostly ignored or ignored Trump’s barrage, equally ignoring repeated questions about the GOP’s run for the White House.
Florida’s governor began to somewhat applaud during a news conference and interview with Fox Nation last week as he took a jab at Trump’s moral code, highlighting his electoral record as a “winner” in contrast to Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, highlighting on his electoral position. A “nonsensical” style of government compared to the turmoil of Trump’s years in the White House, and the mockery of the insulting nicknames Trump repeatedly called the governor.
Never back down, PAC also jump into the fray. The DeSantis-allied super PAC on Tuesday created a video titled “Waco Crickets” highlighting media reports that the rowdy and rowdy crowd at Trump’s rally last weekend turned mostly quiet as the former president repeatedly attacked the Florida governor. The video was first shared with Fox News on Tuesday.
Still, the Trump world wonders if DeSantis and his allies are ready for what could turn into a very combustible nomination showdown.
An advisor to the former president’s political astrology, who requested anonymity to speak more freely, told Fox News last week that “the attacks by Ron are weak at best.”
“We wake up every morning thinking how can we punch Ron DeSantis in the face,” the counselor warned.