Iowa campaigning has begun... just in case Señor Trumpanzee-- for whatever reason-- doesn't run in 2024. Alex Isenstadt wrote this morning that a burst of early activity "illustrates how Republicans are maneuvering with an eye toward succeeding Trump. Nikki Haley was there for 3 days last week and next month the Family Leadership Summit, a gathering that will draw evangelicals from across the state, has already slated Pence, Pompeo and Noem as speakers. Tom Cotton, Tim Scott and Rick Scott have already been campaigning there.
But front-running fascist Ron DeSantis, concentrating on his iffy gubernatorial reelection campaign, has stayed away from Iowa, wary of upsetting Señor T, who he just beat in a much-touted star poll. Beating Trump in a Western Conservative Summit straw poll and drawing too much attention could be a very dangerous ledge for DeSantis. "'Donald Trump was not as strong in his position as he was last year, which is getting a lot of attention and a lot of news organizations covering us,' said Jeff Hunt, vice president of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University who also helped organize last week’s Western Conservative Summit in Denver-- which featured the straw poll DeSantis won. 'It’s very clear Trump has strong control among grassroots conservatives, but what people are looking for is Trump presidency policies but with a fresh face, and Ron has done a good job doing things like going toe-to-toe with the media, and grassroots conservative appreciate that. I think they are looking for that next step and that next generation,' he added."
"DeSantis," wrote Matt Dixon "continues to gain accolades for opening up Florida during the coronavirus pandemic sooner than most large states." His anti-science approach (in all things) has left his state with the most daily new cases of any state in the country for the last month-- as well as 2,367,296 cases in all, nearly 38,000 deaths, 149,861 currently active cases and 110,221 cases per million residents, significantly more than the two states with bigger populations, Texas and California.
But the biggest question remains whether DeSantis will outshine the former president, and if that will in turn provoke Trump. The former president in April both took credit for DeSantis’ political ascension and seemed to tamp down the governor’s 2024 dreams when he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that he’s considering DeSantis as his 2024 running mate.
“He’s a friend of mine. I endorsed Ron, and after I endorsed him, he took off like a rocket ship,” Trump said.
Other former Trump "friends"-- including Mike Pence-- have sailed into rough TrumpWorld waters. This statement by Trump can be read as a declaration of war against Bill Barr-- remember Trump only hires "the best people"-- and a reminder to anyone listening of what he thinks about McConnell:
Today Trump lashed out at McConnell again: "Had Mitch McConnell fought for the Presidency like he should have, there would right now be Presidential Vetoes on all of the phased Legislation that he has proven to be incapable of stopping... He never fought for the White House and blew it for the Country. Too bad I backed him in Kentucky, he would have been primaried and lost!" Yeah, too bad.
Barr told Jonathan Karl that "If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullshit." Predictably, that set Trump off against Barr and McConnell, who Barr said had urged him to speak out about Trump's derangement. Trump wrote that "it was revealed that Barr was being pushed to tell lies about the election by Mitch McConnell, another beauty, who was worried about damaging the Republicans chances in the Georgia runoff. What really damaged the Senate Republicans was allowing their races to be rigged and stolen, and worse, the American people to no longer believe their vote matters because spineless RINOs like Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell did nothing."
As of this morning, Trump hadn't attacked Mitt Romney for his statements on State of the Union yesterday about the crazy Trump rally in Ohio over the weekend. Romney thinks all Republicans should denounce Trump's Big Lie. "Here in the U.S., there’s a growing recognition that this is a bit like WWF, that it’s entertaining, but it’s not real. And I know people want to say, yes, they believe in the ‘big lie’ in some cases, but I think people recognize that it’s a lot of show and bombast, but it’s going nowhere. The election is over. It was fair. Look, the president was crying foul on election night and actually before election night. And the question is, what were his sources of information? … Did he hear it from the Justice Department? No. Did he hear it from the intelligence community? No. So, where did he hear it from? The MyPillow guy? Rudy Giuliani?"