A source told POLITICO that Ron DeSantis (R) plans to wait for Donald Trump to “extend himself” in his presidential run.
The governor of Florida has not announced that he is running for the GOP presidential nomination, but it is widely expected that he will. Trump apparently sees DeSantis as a contender waiting in the wings and has swiftly attacked his one-time ally.
DeSantis will reportedly bide his time and avoid a feud with Trump as he awaits the expected outburst by the former president.
A Republican consultant told POLITICO that Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he is running for president again is “quite irrelevant” to DeSantis.
One political donor said that Trump’s announcement was always anticipated and that DeSantis’ future plans were already “baked into the formula”.
Now, the Republican governor has “an opportunity to govern for the next several months while Trump has to try and convince the people that he has the ability and the faculty to govern effectively,” the adviser said.
He added, “DeSantis controls his deadlines right now, so it’s almost like he watches Trump punch himself.”
Stephen Lawson, a Georgia-based strategist who was communications director for DeSantis’ 2018 run for governor, claims that the “usual average Republican” is willing to back DeSantis over Trump.
Trump comes with a lot of baggage, including two impeachments, the Jan. 6 insurrection, classified White House documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago, and disappointing GOP midterm results, Lawson said.
Trump and his pitbull operative Roger Stone have been going after DeSantis for months. The two of them derived the nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious” for him. He has repeatedly asserted that running against Trump would be a betrayal of DeSantis, who he claims was responsible for DeSantis’ first victory. Stone has said that letting DeSantis run would be a “betrayal”.
Trump even made a wild claim that he “fixed” the 2018 election by ordering the FBI and Justice Department to stop counting votes before he lost. There is no evidence that he did so.
DeSantis has not generally responded to Trump’s attacks.
But asked about Trump’s comments after winning re-election, DeSantis told a news conference: “When you’re working, you put out fires, that’s just the nature of it. look at the scoreboard from last tuesday [election] night.”