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Ron DeSantis Has a New Donald Trump Problem

Rolling Stone ran a report Thursday about how Trump “plotted for weeks” to “mindf-ck” DeSantis with the Florida endorsements.

Donald Trump. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Donald Trump. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Several members of Congress from Florida have opted to endorse Donald Trump for president, even some with established ties to Ron DeSantis. How the former president sought out and succeeded at getting their backing. 

What We Know

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appears to be falling behind in the polls, even before formally announcing a run for president. DeSantis has been outfoxed in his war with Disney, and now a planned trip to Washington to shore up support hasn’t turned out like he hoped. 

This week, while the Florida governor was on a trip to Capitol Hill, his opponent Donald Trump managed to gain key endorsements from several Republican members of Congress from Florida. 

According to Politico, three Congressional Republicans from DeSantis’ own state, Rep. John Rutherford, Rep. Greg Steube, and Rep. Brian Mast, have endorsed Trump, all in the 24 hours prior to DeSantis’ arrival in Washington. This followed several endorsements from Florida members of Congress the previous week, including that of Rep. Bryan Daniels, who has previously been close with DeSantis. 

Steube, for his part, told Politico that DeSantis “has never once reached out to him during his five years in Congress nor replied to his multiple attempts to connect.”

Later, a Congressman from Texas, Rep. Lance Gooden, went immediately from a meeting with DeSantis to the announcement that he would back Trump. 

DeSantis did receive an endorsement from Rep. Laurel Lee, who was formerly Florida’s secretary of state. Lee, along with  Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) are the only members of Congress who have backed DeSantis. 

In addition, while DeSantis held an event on the Hill, several members of Congress who appeared at it “tried to downplay their attendance, saying they went because the governor was a former colleague and they wanted to say hello,” Politico said. 

The endorsements were coordinated, per Politico. 

“The amazing part of it is how easy it was,” one member of Trump’s team told Politico. 

Rolling Stone ran a separate report Thursday about how Trump “plotted for weeks” to “mindf-ck” DeSantis with the Florida endorsements. 

“Team Trump’s rollout of Florida endorsements on Tuesday was part of a plan to subvert DeSantis in his own state that the former president’s staff has been working on for more than a month,” the Rolling Stone story said. “Trump’s aggressive, weeks-long outreach to secure Florida Republican endorsers this early in the game (when DeSantis hasn’t even officially declared a 2024 presidential run) has been spearheaded by top aides like Brian Jack and Susie Wiles, with the ex-president at times getting personally involved as well, the sources say.”

Trump’s team also rolled out the endorsements gradually, rather than all at once, in order to embarrass DeSantis. 

Trump had also released an ad mocking DeSantis both for backing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in the past, and also for the reports that he once ate pudding with his fingers during a flight. 

Trump touted the endorsements in a Truth Social post on Thursday, during which he announced he will host the endorsers at his Florida estate tonight. 

“A great group of supportive Florida Congressmen and Congresswomen, all who have Endorsed me, will be coming to Mar-a-Lago tonight. Our support is almost universal in Florida and throughout the USA,” Trump said on his social network. “They remember fondly all of the incredible things I did while in office, one of the most successful Administrations in History. Will be a great night!”

Earlier in the week, Trump had posted another anti-DeSantis post, above a cartoon of the Florida governor sitting on the shoulders of Trump enemies Karl Rove and Jeb Bush. 

“Social Security and Medicare, and Ron’s attack on both, have destroyed DeSanctimonious. His love affair with Jeb Bush and Karl Rove, certainly haven’t helped,” Trump said in the text of the post.

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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.