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Ron DeSantis Looks Afraid of Donald Trump

Ron DeSantis
Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

Ron DeSantis wants Florida politicians to stop endorsing Trump over him: The Florida governor, who has not yet declared that he’s running for president, appears to be falling behind former President Donald Trump

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Ron DeSantis and His Tales of Trouble

One underrated angle of the expected battle for the Republican presidential nomination between Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis is that both men live in the same state, Florida.

After living most of his life in New York City, Donald Trump switched his official residence to Florida during his presidency, while DeSantis was born in the state and has lived there for most of his life. 

This week, one report from NBC News found that Ron DeSantis is upset that elected officials in the state, including members of Congress, have been tilting towards Trump. Four Republican members of Congress from Florida —  Reps. Byron Donalds, Anna Paulina Luna, Matt Gaetz, and Cory Mills  — have all announced that they’re backing Trump. 

Meanwhile, per NBC, DeSantis’ political operatives have begun calling the other GOP members of the Florida delegation, in order to “consolidate support.” Four of the six members contacted “shared the outreach with NBC News.” 

Is He Running? 

Ron DeSantis has not officially announced that he’s running for president, so it would be strange for him to have endorsements already.

But DeSantis’ team has reached out to the members of Congress — among them Reps. Aaron Bean, Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Laurel Lee, and Greg Steube — asking them to “hold off” on announcing any endorsement for now. 

“There is clearly some angst from the DeSantis camp that so many members of the state’s congressional delegation are throwing their support behind Trump,” one GOP consultant told NBC. “Gaetz going with Trump is one thing, but Byron’s endorsement of the former president undoubtedly rattled some cages.”

Also this week, Puck reported that Jeff Roe, a top adviser to DeSantis, is trying out a new strategy. 

“It’s only been a few weeks since Jeff Roe and his band of fellow Ted Cruz alumni parachuted into Tallahassee to help reverse Ron DeSantis’s wilting political fortunes, and yet they’ve already picked at an uncomfortable wound in the governor’s tight, sensitive, and less experienced inner circle,” the Puck piece said. 

Roe’s team, for one, appears to object to DeSantis’ strategy, at least up until now, to mostly not respond to former President Trump’s attacks on him.

The attacks have been less prominent lately, especially since Trump turned his attention to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the other investigations. However, he has been sharing polls on Truth Social that have him far ahead of DeSantis.

This includes one that has him leading DeSantis in Florida with 80 percent of the vote, compared to just 16 percent for the government. But the poll is a Twitter poll, not one from any particular firm, and likely not accurate in any way. 

DeSantis Is Back in the News

There was another big DeSantis development on Thursday: Per Politico, the government has made clear that he would be signing a new six-week abortion ban, which would make most abortions in Florida illegal. 

The previous law, which banned abortion after 15 weeks, had been signed by DeSantis almost precisely one year earlier. But the new bill, which passed the Florida legislature this week, is much more stringent. 

At a time when Republicans are suffering politically after the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, Politico warned that DeSantis could be “walking into a general election trap.” 

“We’re going to make him own this, and his agenda, everywhere he goes,” one Democratic operative told Politico. “Goes to Michigan? Abortion ban. Goes to Ohio next week? Abortion ban. And that will take different forms but we’ll hang this incredibly toxic abortion ban and his agenda around his neck with different tactics.”

Outside groups are planning ads to that effect. 

“Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will make sure everyone knows his dangerous and radical record on abortion rights,” Jenny Lawson, vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told Politico in a statement. 

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Expertise and Experience:

 Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.