Ron DeSantis Is Becoming a Punching Bag for Donald Trump. When Will He Fight Back? Could it Cost Him?: In political campaigns, especially at the presidential level, you never want to see an opponent define you before you even announce to run.
That is what is happening to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis has become a pinata for Donald Trump with a nickname that is sticking and insults that are being repeated about the Florida governor on Trump’s social network Truth Social.
DeSantis is turning the other cheek and either ignoring the heat dished out by Trump or responding mildly. Is that a good idea?
He will have to protect himself soon and deflect criticism if he is to have a successful campaign against the former president.
Trump Nicknames Are Sticking to the Governor
One of the worst things you can be called in the Republican Party is “RINO,” which means Republican In Name Only. Trump says DeSantis is a RINO. It implies he is not Conservative and authentic and does not support what ordinary members of the GOP believe in.
Second, Trump is calling DeSantis a “globalist.” This is the opposite of America First and a giveaway that DeSantis supports international causes and globalization instead of what is good for the country.
Finally, Trump has dubbed DeSantis “DeSanctimonious” for the governor’s unending self-righteous indignation while fighting the culture wars.
The Need to Inject Some Fight Into DeSantis
When will the Florida governor fight back?
So far, he has been mostly unwilling. He pointed out that he got re-elected and Trump did not. And DeSantis explained that he does not defame other Republicans.
Those rejoinders have not placated the beast in Trump.
New Book Is Nice to Trump
Like many who start on a quest to the White House, DeSantis has a new book. It’s called The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.
Inside, the governor assails woke culture and elitism even though DeSantis himself is a graduate of Harvard and Yale.
Donald Trump Is a Revolutionary Force
DeSantis also has nice things to say about Trump. After all, Trump endorsed him in a critical primary and tight general election when he first ran for governor.
DeSantis notes how the GOP had changed after the election of Barack Obama and that Trump rightfully shepherded the party to become more open to helping working-class voters and rejecting the “swamp” of Washington, DC.
Ron DeSantis Is a Trumper Too
The following quote from the book reveals that DeSantis favors Trumpism. “Since Ronald Reagan flew back to California on January 20, 1989, the GOP grass roots had been longing for someone who rejected the old-guard way of doing business and who could speak to their concerns and aspirations. Trump supported policies that appealed to the base in a way that GOP leaders in the DC swamp had been either incapable of doing or unwilling to do.”
Other parts of the book continue to heap praise on Trump.
Difficult Balancing Act
Ron DeSantis has thus admitted he has to thread the needle should he run for president. No candidate can win a general election without the MAGA base, so it is important that DeSantis not alienate these voters.
But politics is a game that requires negativity against your opponent to present a clear choice to voters.
If DeSantis does not create daylight between him and Trump, Republicans may just stay with the former president through the primary.
Taking a Risk By Playing Nice
DeSantis’ strategy to not get into a yelling match with Trump is a gamble. Trump could define him for the rest of the campaign should the governor announce.
Look at what happened to the last Florida governor to run for president. Jeb Bush was called “Low Energy Jeb” and a supporter of the Iraq war by Trump and he never recovered.
Ron DeSantis must respond to Trump and at least say he is no RINO or globalist. This would be easy to refute without going negative against the former president.
If DeSantis announces in May, as many Republicans reckon he will, the opening speech will be interesting. The other candidate running, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, has said she is a “new generation” leader who is decades younger than Joe Biden and Trump. DeSantis needs a similar stratagem to prove that he has the ability to take the fight to Trump and carve out a new lane to show that he is a different type of candidate.
Otherwise, Trump will keep calling him DeSanctimonious, RINO, and globalist. DeSantis may never shake these labels and he could end up roadkill before he starts his campaign for president.
Author Expertise and Experience:
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.