Can DeSantis Endure the Oncoming Barrage?

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is indeed running for president, he is about to experience the most difficult time of his political career. If you have been watching how former President Donald Trump, along with the activist media and Democrats are approaching the governor, you know this is no exaggeration.

The former president, for his part, is reportedly readying an opening salvo against DeSantis that will make his attacks up to this point look like kisses and sunshine. Indeed, Trump and his team are on the verge of deploying some of their nastiest attacks yet.

Politico reports:

Trump’s team and his allied PAC are preparing an expansive opposition research file by poring over DeSantis’ record as a prosecutor, member of Congress, and Florida governor. Among the items a Trump-allied group has drilled into is DeSantis’ record while serving as an assistant U.S. Attorney before running for congressional office, with plans to accuse him of being an “extremely lenient prosecutor” in cases involving, among other things, child pornography.

That’s right, folks. If Politico is to be believed – and we must take this with an entire salt shaker – Team Trump is going to use allegations that DeSantis was soft on child porn to knock him out of contention for the GOP presidential nomination. Will it work? According to Ronald Harvey, a retired assistant U.S. Attorney who supervised DeSantis when he was a special assistant U.S. Attorney, any such allegations would be “ludicrous” and that the governor “wasn’t a lone wolf on his own making deals without the entire weight of the U.S. Attorney’s office overseeing what he was doing.”

Still, true or not, Trump has a way of making things stick. But this is not the only weapon the former president has up his sleeve. His allies are also working their fingers to the bone to ensure their guy gets the Republican nod for 2024.

Make America Great Again Inc., a Trump-aligned super PAC, is filing a 15-page complaint on Wednesday with the Florida Commission on Ethics, according to NBC News.

The filing asks the organization to investigate whether pro-DeSantis super PACs, along with his “personally lucrative book tour,” and an influx of state-level campaign contributions, “are unlawful because they service his personal political objectives, are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office.”

Taryn Fenske, the governor’s communications director, told NBC News that the attacks were “frivolous and politically motivated,” and insisted that it is “inappropriate to use state ethics for partisan purposes.”

Of course, the news outlet notes that Trump’s people might not have an easy go of it when it comes to getting the commission to investigate DeSantis, “considering he appointed five of the nine members.”

It is also worth mentioning that the allegations likely hold about as much water as a rusty thimble. Unless DeSantis or members of his team have made a gargantuan unforeseeable error, Trump is not going to be able to successfully use lawfare to keep him out of the race.

But this does not mean that we should start calling DeSantis “Teflon Ron” just yet. There are still areas of vulnerability and when you’re dealing with someone like Donald Trump, you must be on point. The former president is out for blood, and he views himself as the rightful leader of the party. Moreover, he has a cadre of right-leaning influencers willing to use their platforms to influence as many minds as possible. Democrats and the activist media are also gunning for DeSantis – meaning that his team will have to fight this battle on all fronts.

So far, DeSantis has shown that he can throw a punch; he has done it many times when it comes to dealing with the press and Democrats. But the question is: Can he take enough punches and remain standing?

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