What’s happening: According to a scoop from Axios, former President Donald Trump is planning to increase the attacks on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the coming weeks to either scare him out of running or significantly damage his character before DeSantis officially enters the race. Polls show Trump gaining a significant lead this past month, around 26 points up from DeSantis, who still hasn’t responded directly to the attacks.
Trump will target DeSantis’s…
Past voting record: Years ago, as a congressman, DeSantis supported privatizing Social Security and Medicare and raising the Medicare eligibility age. The governor recently clarified his positioning, saying, “We’re not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans.”
Supporters: In his last campaign speech, Trump stated, “We are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush,” all of who are associated with the RINO sect of the party. All three also prefer DeSantis over Trump, providing the former President an opportunity to cast DeSantis as a RINO.
Pandemic response: Though DeSantis was one of the first governors to reopen his state and keep children in school, Trump plans to attack the Florida governor for shutting down beaches and businesses in the earliest days of the pandemic (March 2020). The claim isn’t valid, though DeSantis limited groups on the beach and restaurant occupancies.
Disloyalty to Trump: Trump campaigned to help elect DeSantis in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race, giving a serious edge to DeSantis, who was relatively unknown at the time and proceeded just barely to win the race. Politico called Trump the “key to his success.” Trump wants to cast DeSantis as disloyal for running against him now.