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Pass The Popcorn-- Trump vs DeSantis

Earlier today I was on a slow line at a pharmacy. The guy ahead of me said "Love your sweatshirt." I looked down: "Feel The Bern." He started saying how much better off the country would be now if the Democratic establishment hadn't shoved Biden into the presidency. I suggested he read DWT. He said he already has. He started telling me how impressed he was with Trump talking up the vaccine-- although that seems to have ended after Trump was booed a couple of times by his own supporters-- and with Trump saying China is a better educated society than our own. I think I missed that. This guy is never going to be a Trump voter but I found it interesting that he could hear what Trump said without immediately rejecting it-- the way I tend to.

There is one thing I do agree with Trump about, even if Trump's statements are pretty much always made with his own possible benefits, malignant narcissism run amuck. So Trump said it for himself and I agree with the jist but still see him saying it as self-serving, ego-driven bullshit. The "it" in this case is his increasingly caustic comments about Rom DeSantis. In fact, the two creeps are an inch from an all-out war.

On Thursday, while he was being interviewed for a neo-fascist podcast, Ruthless, DeSantis said "When COVID was first coming, you know, we were actually engaged in it. I was telling Trump, ‘Stop the flights from China' because we didn't know what we were dealing with. But you know, I never thought in February, early March, that it would lead to locking down the country. I just didn’t. I didn't think that was on the radar." He went out of his way to lump Trump (and Pence) in with Fauci camp and says he wishes now that he had put his foot down then. Uh... yeah. Trump, on OANN, had already called him-- albeit not by name-- "gutless" in his non-response to Maria Bartiromo when he went on Fox News.

As of this afternoon, Trump hadn't settled on a nickname for DeSantis. That's probably coming. According to a report from Jonathan Swan today Trump is "trashing DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a 'dull personality' and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who've recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor. [Trump] is irked by DeSantis' popularity and refusal to rule out running against him" the way other possible contenders have, like Tim Scott, Marco Rubio, Kristi Noem, Rick Scott and Josh Hawley. The ones who haven't are DeSantis, Pence, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Mike Pompeo. The only one Trump seems to see as a realistic potential threat is DeSantis.

On Friday, Matt Dixon and Gary Fineout wrote how DeSantis is actively wooing support, aware that Trump has "soured on him." The pair from Politico reported how DeSantis is persuading right-wing social media influencers from around the country to actually move to Florida to revel in the "freedom," "liberty" and DeSantis' presence! "The Republican governor’s team has been courting popular conservative media and online figures, an effort that comes as former President Donald Trump appears to be turning on DeSantis. Some of those whom the governor’s staff are wooing are heavily involved in amplifying the anti-vax movement and downplaying the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In early January-- on the 6th no less-- DeSantis hosted nine prominent social media stars in Tallahassee for a night that included stops at DeSantis’ office, dinner at the governor’s mansion and drinks at Level 8 Lounge, a popular downtown rooftop bar near Florida’s statehouse. Almost all of them have recently very publicly announced on social media that they moved to Florida."

Many conservative media stars, most of whom have long been some of Trump’s most vocal supporters, have been hyping DeSantis in recent months for the governor’s rejection of Covid-related mandates and constant hammering of President Joe Biden. But the support has increased in intensity in recent weeks, a spike easily noticeable on social media and podcasts throughout the conservative media ecosystem. That support is key in helping DeSantis further expand his footprint with influencers in Republican primary politics ahead of his 2022 reelection and as he weighs a 2024 White House bid.
“It’s truly fascinating to watch the ascent of Ron DeSantis,” said Sara Gonzales, a host on conservative BlazeTV network who is based in Texas. “I say this of course, as a native Texan. Florida, under DeSantis’s leadership, has made even Texas look shaky on issues that really matter to the average conservative.”
That attention comes as DeSantis has also drawn Trump’s ire. Trump has repeatedly said he would beat DeSantis in a GOP primary, and just last week on the conservative One America News Network called politicians who will not say if they have gotten the Covid-19 booster shot “gutless”-- a comment widely seen as directed at DeSantis, who has waffled when asked about the issue though has said he’s been vaccinated.
Trump’s team is also eager to highlight the role he played in making DeSantis a national Republican figure.
“The MAGA world has, in large part, followed President Trump to Florida as it readies for the future," said Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson. "After introducing the world to Governor DeSantis in 2017 through a Tweet, Floridians have reaped the rewards of President Trump’s America First candidates."
...“I think it would be a mistake for DeSantis not to run. The more Trump makes the mistake of tying the success of the vaccines to his ego, the more he alienates and insults his base,” said Gonzales, the BlazeTV host. “Many people who supported Trump in the last election are hungry for someone with the guts to speak for them without fear of repercussions, but also without the obvious baggage that Trump carries.“
“DeSantis fits that mold perfectly.”

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