Trump is Picking a Fight With DeSantis

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The short, obvious answer to the question posed in the headline is that Trump (reportedly) passionately resents DeSantis for having the audacity to consider running against him in a 2024 presidential primary.  Trump wants him to rule out a run and kiss the ring.  DeSantis has declined to do so.  The former president would enter that race as a heavy frontrunner, but polling suggests that DeSantis might be the only potential challenger with any realistic shot at beating him.  Trump has seen the numbers.  He knows this.  Trump believes DeSantis owes him his governorship, and therefore his resulting success, and would therefore view a refusal to bend the knee in 2024 as an unforgivable affront.  So assuming both men seek the presidency in the upcoming cycle — which I’d call a fairly safe, but not sure, bet — a Trump/DeSantis war is looming.  That would explain why Trump is needling DeSantis like this:

Former President Donald Trump is coming to Miami just two days before Election Day. But one Republican won’t be there — Gov. Ron DeSantis. Not yet anyway. Trump on Wednesday said he’ll hold a rally with Sen. Marco Rubio on Nov. 6. DeSantis was left off the announcement and an adviser to the former president said the Florida governor is not attending. The apparent snub angered some people within DeSantis’ orbit, who complained that the Florida governor’s team was not informed of the rally prior to Trump announcing it. The timing of the Trump and Rubio event means any campaign event DeSantis holds that day won’t get as much attention during the all-important final stretch of the 2022 midterms. “You’ve got the Sunday before Election Day totally hijacked by Trump parachuting in on Trump Force One taking up the whole day,” said a longtime Republican consultant who is close to the governor. “No Republican could go to a DeSantis event that day. None. And DeSantis won’t be here? This is big.” Another person who is influential in DeSantis’ world said it was “an elbow to Ron’s throat” and blamed Trump advisers.

A Trump source quoted in the Politico story disputes any bad blood between Trump and DeSantis, innocently claiming that the planned rally is merely part of a swing of stops on behalf of Senate candidates.  Nothing to see here.  Except nobody believes that.  Trump headlining a pre-election rally in Florida, with the incumbent Republican governor conspicuously absent as he runs for re-election, isn’t exactly subtle.  Trump doesn’t do subtle; it’s not his brand or style.  Instead, it would very much look like a deliberate, petty, message-sending snub — precisely the sort of thing one can imagine Trump enjoying very much.  It’s also easy to imagine the most devoted Trump devotees high-fiving over the Big Dog putting the presumptuous protege back in his place.  But the reason I asked my question in the headline is that if Trumpworld is indeed looking to give DeSantis a very public cold shoulder as a pre-2024 warning shot, the strategy strikes me as very stupid.  Why?  Let’s game it out.  

Trump’s obvious overall game plan is to claim as much credit as possible for Republican wins in November, while blaming any setbacks or misfires on others.  That’s what nearly all politicians do, and it’s especially true of Trump.  So what happens if Trump does a big 11th-hour rally with Marco Rubio, with DeSantis not invited, then DeSantis wins bigger than Rubio does (and much bigger than Trump ever did in Florida)?  Based on the polling, that’s the probable scenario at this point.  In a short-sighted fit of pique, Trump would have handed DeSantis a powerful talking point against the former president’s inevitable credit-claiming schtick.  ‘With all due respect, I didn’t need you, Mr. President, and I proved it by outperforming both you and the candidate you came in to help.’  In short, from the Trump 2024 perspective, this is an ill-conceived gift to DeSantis.  Notice that the quotes taking umbrage over the disrespect are from unnamed ‘allies’ of the governor, not top aides or campaign officials.  Those folks are probably more than happy to keep their mouths shut, let the president do what he wants on November 6th, then let the subsequent results speak for themselves.  They’d be foolish to make a big deal out of this, especially since Trump would eventually frame any angling for inclusion as DeSantis ‘begging like a dog,’ etc.  

If anything, they should publicly welcome the president’s visit on behalf of Rubio, say that DeSantis’ constituent is always welcome to speak out in Florida, and maybe schedule some Hurricane Ian relief-related business during the rally.  Ron DeSantis is not lacking in name recognition or passion among his voters, after all.  He doesn’t “need” this event.  From a machiavellian standpoint, Team Trump would be much smarter to ostentatiously invite DeSantis to join the rally.  The governor would have no choice but to accept, and the Republicans would put on a big united front just before an important midterm election.  Then when they romp statewide over the Democrats, Trump’s self-interested crowing would at least have some internal logic to it.  It wouldn’t be true, of course; I think both DeSantis and Rubio are poised to soar to victory even if Trump never shows his face in public again.  But Trump’s myth-making narrative would at least make some sense under this sequence of events, among those inclined to peddle or believe it.  

My guess is that at some point between now and November 6, Trumpworld will realize that the way to box in DeSantis is to loudly embrace him pre-election, not freeze him out.  The latter might feel good to a myopic and impulsive guy like Trump, but it holds a high risk of strengthening the man they want to punish.  Better to bear-hug DeSantis now, spin a tale about how you’re responsible for his impending dominant win (DeSantis would clearly have strong counterpoints regardless), then figure out your plan to knife him later.  Will Trump’s bloated ego allow for this basic and strategic deferral of score-settling?  Unless the Trump camp is truly and aggressively dumb, DeSantis will get his invite.  And if he doesn’t, he’ll quietly marvel at his good fortune.  Regardless, the Trump/DeSantis rumble is already starting to play out before our eyes.  I’ll leave you with yet more evidence of the absolute thrashing that Democrats appear to have in store for them in the Sunshine State this year:

Original Article: Why Is Trump Picking This Fight With DeSantis? (townhall.com)

2 Comments
  1. Joey says

    What’s the difference between Trump and Desantis? Not such a blurry line. DeSantis says it just does it, Trump always asked for permission, so why was this? Obozo just did it, Joey just did it. Makes one question.

  2. FRANK2525 says

    President establishs Policy, but has to go to Legislative to acquire enough vote approving , to be returned to him for signature, which then becomes policy (law) for all who come to USA. At least that was intent and policy, from beginning, with Elis Island being the check-in port (facility) to prove health, and meeting requirements. Obama stated he did not have the authority, then ruled by Executive Order, to violate the law.
    DeSantis as Governor can decide who can reside in Florida, and the cabinet officials, that he appointed in State, will comply. All other countries receive power from the Dictator, by any of the different names, by Executive Order, interpreted by petty tyrants at all stages dealing with the public. That is the Difference I see, and learned in my 93 years

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