Donald Trump, former President, plans to make Florida Governor. The COVID response of Ron DeSantis was a primary attack on his potential 2024 opponent, but it could backfire, Republican strategists warned the Daily Caller.
Since launching his presidential campaign in November 2017, Trump has intensified his attacks against DeSantis, calling him “DeSanctimonious”, and claiming that a DeSantis campaign would be bad for the GOP’s “base”.
“The revelations that Ron DeSanctimonious did FAR MORE than other Republican governors, including the fact that he shut down Florida’s beaches and unapologetically closed it down, were very interesting indeed. DJT is leading BIG! Trump wrote the following on Truth Social.
According to Republican strategists, Trump’s focus on the pandemic response could come back to haunt him. DeSantis is well-known for his COVID response. They said that the attack was too subtle to have a significant impact.
It is emblematic of a fear that Governor DeSantis’s political success in his reelection and the wider growth and economic success that Florida has experienced under his leadership. Alex Vogel, a Republican strategist who was formerly a senior Congressional policy negotiator, said that attacking your opponents on issues where they have succeeded is not an attack from a place of strength.
DeSantis emphasized his re-election on Wednesday in his rebuke of Trump in his response to Henry Rodgers, the chief national correspondent at Daily Caller.
Jason Roe, Republican strategist, and ex-executive director of the Michigan GOP told the Caller that Trump’s strategy “will fall flat.”
Trump’s primary criticisms of DeSantis’ COVID-19 response include that unlike other Republican states, Florida was “closed for a long time” and that Trump “changed his tune about vaccines,” Trump said to reporters Saturday. CNN reports that Trump spoke to CNN.
A Republican operative close to Trump’s campaign said that Trump is focusing his attention on COVID-19 because, “all the decisions for lockdowns or school closures were made by local and state officials like Ron DeSantis, who closed down the beaches of his state and set up a checkpoint along the highway to screen motorists.”
To allow them to discuss sensitive matters, The Caller gave anonymity to Trump’s Republican operatives.
DeSantis issued an executive directive to close bars and nightclubs in March 2020. DeSantis also ordered the closure of bars, nightclubs and gyms in March 2020. He also placed strict travel restrictions on the nation’s beaches. Fox News reported that the Florida governor reversed his policies in September 2020 and allowed bars and restaurants to reopen following a Trump recommendation.
The Caller was told by a second Republican operative who is familiar with Trump’s thinking that DeSantis’ entire campaign rests on the idea that he fought lockdowns and fought mask mandates. “In Florida in the fall 2020, you still needed to wear a mask to enter the gym and go to the gym. Does that sound like someone who has fought for COVID?”
Trump’s claim that DeSantis delayed lifting restrictions until the fall, rather than the summer or spring is “a little bit too nuanced and a lot too in the weeds” for people to respond in a meaningful manner, Roe stated.
Trump advocated for longer lockdowns in the pandemic, despite DeSantis being portrayed as a lockdown enthusiast. He criticized Republican Georgia Governor in April 2020. Brian Kemp criticized Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal for opening his state too quickly and suggested that people should “wait a bit longer” to access services such as “beauty parlors.”
Amy Tarkanian (Republican strategist and ex-chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party) described Trump’s COVID-19 attacks in a “disingenuous and immature” manner.
In a podcast episode from Jan. 20,22, DeSantis reacted to Trump’s criticisms of lockdowns. He said that Trump officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci were “panicked” when pandemic started, leading to calls for lockdowns at the top.
Trump was also credited by a third Republican operative who knew Trump well for “defending” Americans against Fauci.
Trump is being given credit for leading the breach and protecting the American people from Fauci, who is the swamp personified. “If you recall, Fauci advocated national mandates for everything from vaccinations to masks and Trump did an amazing job giving states the capability to execute their own rescue plans,” said the operative.
DeSantis supported vaccination to “protect” residents of Florida in May 2021. However, he has since withdrawn his support. He refused to disclose whether he had been boosted in October 2021 and asked the Florida Supreme Court in December to investigate any “wrongdoings” in relation to the state’s vaccine rollout.
Trump has vigorously defended his vaccine rollout and seemed to suggest that DeSantis was “gutless”, for refusing to disclose whether he had been given a vaccine booster. Trump also said that Republicans should be proud of the vaccines developed during his presidency.
Trump will not stop praising the vaccine’s success stories. It is a small minority of the party that opposes the vaccine. Ninety-five per cent of Americans over 65 have had the vaccine. Ron can run a campaign against senior citizens if he wants. Trump is not running to get the most tweet likes, but to be President of The United States,” said the first Republican operative to Trump.
DeSantis will “attack Trump over the vaccine,” but Ron DeSantis has been promoting the vaccine for years, the second GOP operative stated. Trump will throw it back at DeSantis because every accusation Ron DeSantis has against Donald Trump concerning COVID [he] is guilty of. He’s now trying to pretend he was something he isn’t because of the position our voters have on these issues.
The Daily Caller inquired about DeSantis’ communications department, but they did not respond immediately.