What happened: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed the recent controversy of former President Donald Trump’s looming indictment on Monday, stating he would not get involved, calling the situation a “manufactured circus by some Soros D.A.,” and including a jab about the payment to Stormy Daniels. That same day, DeSantis did an interview with Piers Morgan, where he criticized Trump’s management style.
Battle of the influencers: Many Trump-aligned influencers believe DeSantis fatally downplayed the crisis and missed an opportunity to fight what they see as a two-tiered justice system weaponized against Republicans. Others thought he was collaborating in the attempt to prosecute Trump, despite sources confirming that DeSantis would not do this. Still, for influential figures like Don Trump Jr., this was an opportunity to label DeSantis as “controlled opposition.”
From the other side: Those who support DeSantis have pointed to the intensifying attacks from Trump as justification for the governor’s mild position on the possible indictment. In recent weeks, the former president has referred to DeSantis as a groomer and persistently attacked his character and policies. Supporters of DeSantis see no reason for the likely presidential candidate to help his opponent.
Big picture: Vying for the same voters, with almost identical policies, Trump and DeSantis have long been heading for collision. Influencers have taken advantage of the situation to steer MAGA voters away from DeSantis and toward Trump, and recent polls show that their efforts are working.