DeSantis's Dilemma: Kiss Trump's Ass, Or Govern?
Oh, noes! Is there trouble in paradise? The Washington Examiner reports that Donald Trump is making Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis sleep on the couch this week for nagging him about the optics of holding a MAGA rally during a humanitarian disaster. Can this marriage be saved?
With 18 people confirmed dead and another 145 missing, the collapse of the 12-story condominium in Surfside, Florida, is an ongoing crisis. Nevertheless, the former president is determined to go forward with his planned rally just 200 miles northwest in Sarasota this Saturday.
DeSantis's office has "made a direct plea" to the former president's team, calling on it to postpone the Saturday event in Sarasota. One Florida Republican bluntly said Trump and his team need to "read the room."
"The governor is getting tested here as to how far he's going to be pushed before he breaks ranks with President Trump. And he has to be very careful because this is Trump country," this source said. "The base loves the president. But they equally love Ron. It's a showdown going on right now."
For now, the Trump camp is holding firm. "Nobody wants to cancel," a source close to Trump told the Washington Examiner.
Representatives of Trump and DeSantis have denied the reports on the record, insisting that the couple is still going hot and heavy. Nevertheless, the spat illustrates DeSantis's dilemma, as he prepares for a gubernatorial re-election campaign in 2022 and a possible presidential run in 2024.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Trump could nuke DeSantis's political career from orbit if the governor steps out of line. DeSantis has to stay in Trump's good graces if he wants to continue to appeal to Florida Republicans. But at the same time, he has to grapple with the reality that he's got a manmade catastrophe on his hands, and the good will he won for his handling of the pandemic could take a beating with weeks and weeks of tragic rescue efforts yet to unfold.
And because it's Florida (and every character in this story is spiteful as fuck), there's an added wrinkle. Former DeSantis campaign manager Susie Wiles is leading Trump's operation in Florida. DeSantis pushed Wiles out in a bitter public dispute, and even went so far as to threaten donors who worked with her on Trump's re-election campaign.
"Because Ron DeSantis doesn't want it, she's gonna make sure it happens," a source told the Examiner. "The governor supports the president, but something awful just happened in his state."
HUH. Let's just pause to note that it's interesting that this item is appearing in the Examiner, a staunchly Republican outfit that appears to be testing the waters to pivot toward a different 2024 candidate.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is playing politics, i.e. conducting himself in an appropriate presidential manner, spending three hours today meeting with families of the Surfside victims and holding a joint press conference with DeSantis to promise government support for Florida in its hour of need.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to Biden in Surfside, FL: “You recognized the severity of this tragedy from day one, and… https://t.co/lj9MS0YUPU— The Recount (@The Recount) 1625152300.0
"You guys have not only been supportive at the federal level, but we've had no bureaucracy," DeSantis said.
"I promise you," President Biden replied, "there will be none."
Marc Caputo, the ur Florida reporter, has an article at Politico about Ron DeSantis's tough dilemma trying to look appropriately statesmanlike without looking like he's consorting with the enemy. No full-body hugging for this guy, he's not going down like Chris Christie after Hurricane Sandy. Apparently it's big news in Wingerland that DeSantis actually called Biden "president."
In summary and in conclusion, FLORIDA, MAN.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.