DeSantis Publicly Goes After Trump As GOP Dysfunction Continues


Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t sound particularly concerned about jabs from Donald Trump, who DeSantis may eventually challenge in the next primary contest among Republicans for their party’s presidential nomination ahead of 2024.

Trump has largely turned against DeSantis in his public rhetoric amid widespread speculation about the possibilities of a run for president by the governor. Polling on both the national level and in individual swing states has shown DeSantis potentially defeating Trump, and there’s another relevant argument in that DeSantis won re-election by a margin of nearly 20 percent in last year’s midterm elections — an absolute landslide. DeSantis originally won his post some four years prior by less than half a percentage point. Not only did Trump himself lose in his 2020 race for another term, but candidates closely aligned with Trump — from Georgia to Pennsylvania to Arizona — lost, sometimes by a lot, in the 2022 midterm elections, helping Democrats retain control of the Senate and hold key posts as governor.

And in Florida, with DeSantis at the top of the ticket? Republicans cruised to super-majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. “I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles, it’s been happening for many, many years,” DeSantis said at a press conference amid questions about Trump’s comments. “The good thing is, is that the people are able to render a judgment on that whether they re-elect you or not. And I’m happy to say — you know in my case — not only did we win re-election, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has had in the history of the state of Florida… That verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”

DeSantis, although he could defeat Trump in a primary, could be similarly destructive. In Florida, Ron’s record includes support for restrictions on abortion and pushes against free speech, including with restrictions on discussions in schools of sexual orientation and gender identity and limits he’s sought to impose on teaching concepts like white privilege in schools and workplaces. The governor’s team also recently rejected a proposed Advanced Placement (AP) course for high-schoolers dealing with Black history and current elements of the experience of Black Americans, although the organization responsible for the course subsequently made changes to its content. Still, the question remains: do DeSantis and his allies think of Floridians as inept and in need of protection from even mildly challenging concepts? Can’t upper-grade high-schoolers at least think for themselves about an idea potentially outside the norm? Or is that too much for DeSantis’s vision for his state?