To say that the mainstream media has never cared much for Gov. Ron DeSantis is putting it mildly. Even had he not won the governor’s race, his close alliance with fellow Floridian Donald Trump put him in the crosshairs of many an activist reporter with an ax to grind against an unconventional Republican president who was not in the least bit shy about telling the press and his other critics where to shove it.
But last year, the DeSantis hate among political reporters intensified as the Wuhan coronavirus began spreading across the country. While the MSM swooned and swayed over New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s supposedly magnificent pandemic leadership, news outlets from CNN to the Washington Post and MSNBC were dunking on DeSantis with regularity, insinuating he was a “grandma killer” for not taking the draconian “lock everything down” type of approach that was being implemented in blue states like California, Michigan, and NY.
Here we are a year later, and while Cuomo is facing multiple investigations, some of DeSantis’ critics on the left and in the media have acknowledged that what many on the right have long claimed about DeSantis’ capable management of the crisis in his state may have been correct all along.
Nevertheless, the hit pieces have kept on coming, from the debunked 60 Minutes “pay to play” segment fiasco to the various failed attempts by newspapers in the state to bizarrely make DeSantis look like a bad guy for prioritizing seniors for the vaccine.
The recently-announced investigation into Matt Gaetz over sex trafficking allegations has given the media another opportunity to shine the spotlight a little brighter on DeSantis and his ties to the Florida congressman. The Associated Press filed this report earlier today with the teaser that DeSantis’ “friendship” with Gaetz could “become a liability,” whether DeSantis runs for president in 2024 or not:
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) April 16, 2021
But what did the AP’s investigation into the DeSantis/Gaetz political alliance find? Absolutely nothing that would connect him to the specific allegations. In fact, the piece paints their friendship as one that has faded over the years:
The Associated Press spoke to nearly a dozen people with direct knowledge of how the DeSantis-Gaetz relationship evolved in recent years. Many of them spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations and observations. They describe a friendship of political convenience between two young, ambitious Republicans eager to rise in a party that was quickly being redefined by Trump.
Gaetz served as an informal political adviser to DeSantis. But as DeSantis became a more seasoned political player, the people said, the bond changed.
“When Ron first got elected governor, he did not have any experience in Tallahassee and Mr. Gaetz did, and so he relied on Mr. Gaetz for his Tallahassee knowledge when he first got there,” said Peter Feaman, a national committeeman for the Republican Party of Florida. “Once Ron got his feet underneath him up in Tallahassee, the only thing they’ve had in common is their support for Mr. Trump and conservative principles. Other than that, I’m not aware of any interaction between the two whatsoever.”
While the governor and the congressman were close politically, they were in very different places in their personal lives. DeSantis was married with young children. Gaetz was single.
Modest signs of tension began to emerge as DeSantis settled into the governor’s office.
One issue was Gaetz’s habit of showing up at Republican political events, often with different women, dressed as if they were going out to a nightclub. Critics suggested privately that Gaetz was acting like a “frat boy.” DeSantis’ wife, Casey DeSantis, one of the governor’s closest political advisers, was cooling to Gaetz as well.
If his wife “cooled” to Gaetz at a certain point, you can best bet DeSantis himself started doing some distancing as well. The old saying about “happy wife, happy life” applies here, I think, based on everything I’ve read about the DeSantis’ relationship.
Doesn’t sound like there’s any “there” there to the wild claims made by guests on Joy Reid’s program and others about how DeSantis will be “taken down” by his connection to Gaetz, does it? Not that the AP story will convince them to stop making them, of course.
Is it possible the investigation could find a troubling link between the two? Sure. Is it likely? In my view, not really, A guy as closely watched, analyzed, and scrutinized as DeSantis has been over the years by his political opponents and media foes would have been “found out” by now, in my opinion.
That said, should DeSantis be “implicated” in some way, it will be smart to be skeptical. If we learned nothing else from the last four years of bogus “investigations” into Trump, we learned that much.