I suppose 2024 has officially kicked off, or at least Donald Trump believes so. After threatening Gov. Ron DeSantis with blackmail just prior to the 2022 election, the former president has now released a scathing statement.
In it, he suggests that DeSantis is an “average” governor, resurrects his “Ron DeSanctimonious” slam, and suggests “sunshine” is the real reason people are moving to Florida, not good governance.
NEW: Trump goes postal on DeSantis 👇 pic.twitter.com/WoXM0AEY2S
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 10, 2022
This is a head-scratcher. Actually, let me take that back. I know full well why Trump put this statement out, but it’s head-scratching that someone didn’t talk him out of it.
Obviously, the statement itself is mostly silly fluff. It’s full of slights that don’t add up to anything, and the ones that do touch on issues are either misleading or false. Still, I’m not going to break all that down because the point here isn’t to set the Republican Party at its own throat. It’s two days after the 2022 election, and there’s a run-off left to handle in Georgia. I’d like to at least get through that before we all stake our territory about who the 2024 nominee will be.
Still, what I will say is that this isn’t a good look. It makes Trump, who has famously been a counter-puncher, appear weak. DeSantis has not attacked Trump. The rumors (spread by big MAGA accounts online) that DeSantis met with Paul Ryan are flatly false. Right now, the Florida governor is handling the latest hurricane to hit the state. He’s not taking shots at Trump, and he’s certainly not thinking about a 2024 run yet.
Given that, what is Trump hoping to accomplish by preemptively starting a war with the most popular GOP figure on the right (by favorable ratings)? DeSantis is also fresh off a historic win in Florida, winning by 20 points in a state that went to Trump by just three points two years prior. This doesn’t seem like the time to be poking the bear, especially with so much time left between now and the late 2023 primary season.
I guess Trump feels he needs to clear the field early, but I don’t think this does that. I think this has the opposite effect, goading DeSantis into eventually running. Whatever happens, I know that this next election season is going to be insane, so buckle up and enjoy the show.