Donald Trump still sounds like he’s worried about the prospects held by Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis in a potentially future presidential primary contest between the duo.
Replying on Truth Social this Wednesday to a supporter who posted an image of polling data showing the former president defeating DeSantis by a large margin if the governor decides to run, Trump said: “Thank you. The real Ron is a RINO GLOBALIST, who closed quickly down Florida and even its beaches. Loved the Vaccines and wasted big money on “Testing.” How quickly people forget!”
The Trump admin itself helped lead the development of vaccines against COVID-19, and Trump himself has touted that initiative. “Before Operation Warp Speed, the typical timeframe for development and approval, as you know, could be infinity,” he claimed in remarks from December 2020. “And we were very, very happy that we were able to get things done at a level that nobody has ever seen before. The gold standard vaccine has been done in less than nine months.” That sounds pretty exuberant! In general, the DeSantis team took what was objectively among the more lax approaches in response to COVID-19, and it’s unclear he ever even himself closed the state’s beaches, although he allowed other officials to do so, at least for a time. DeSantis never even imposed a state mandate to wear face masks, although again, other officials at other levels of government did so.
Private businesses were also generally able to set some of their own regulations. The DeSantis administration did impose some restrictions on the use of restaurants — but those limits from the state were gone in September 2020, confining the bulk of the restrictions to the summer, and the state already relieved some of the limits before the more sweeping move. Polling has indicated DeSantis would have a good chance of defeating Trump should he decide to jump into the race. In New Hampshire, a recent poll showed the Florida governor and potential candidate for president up by 12 percent, and in South Carolina, a poll released this month found him leading Trump by nearly 20 percent. Other polls show Trump leading, but the idea that Trump is a lock or the clear favorite just doesn’t seem accurate.