We see it all the time, some news reporter or commentator expressing outrage at former president Donald Trump’s latest news generating action or statement.
Even Trump’s staunchest supporters can’t fathom or explain many of the things he does. Just last week, for example, Trump took off after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – again -- over the latter man’s attempt to put “woke” Disney in its place. All of this, and DeSantis hasn’t even officially declared that he’s running in 2024.
There have always been many sides to Donald Trump, and it’s surprising that anyone’s surprised by anything he says or does any more. But explaining Trump’s actions is always challenging. Regardless, Trump’s motivations can be summed up in one concept: he wants to win at everything he does.
In a piece titled “Ron DeSantis's (almost) impossible task”, astute political observer Byron York wrote at the Washington Examiner last week:
“The job is to convince Republican primary and caucus voters that no matter how happy they were under a Trump presidency, it would not be a good idea to have another Trump presidency. And it is not at all clear that any candidate will be able to do that.
“2024 is just the second time any Republicans have run against Trump. In the first go-around, the 2016 primaries, no GOP candidate figured out how to compete against him successfully. Now, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) leads a group of declared and potential opponents who will run the second GOP campaign against Trump. There is no guarantee they will figure out how to beat him, either. So far, the effort is not going well...
“So what does it all mean? It means that in the absence of some really big, game-changing event, beating Trump in a Republican presidential primary race is a very, very tall order. It is not impossible — it's far too early to make any such pronouncements — but there's no proof it can be done, either.”
If I were a wagering man – and I am, at least on football – I wouldn’t bet against Trump doing anything he sets his mind to doing. Whereas politics has always been a dirty business, not every politician is willing to do whatever it takes to win. But history suggests Donald Trump would walk over hot coals in hell to get what he desires, and right now, he wants to compete in the 2024 general election against senile Joe Biden or whomever the evil Democrat party chooses to face him.
Simply put, Trump believes his legacy and family name are at stake – and those are really the only things he cares about anymore, along with his deep abiding love for America. Donald Trump will not sail into history as a man who lost the presidency and didn’t fight like a wounded tiger to make it all good again. It just so happens that Ron DeSantis – and the others – are the ones most immediately in his way. Who doubts that Trump would do whatever it takes to win in 2024? Anyone who hesitates clearly hasn’t watched Trump in the past half a century (roughly). Trump’s gold-plated brand is on everything he does. And he doesn’t apologize for his actions. He moves forward. Whoever is in his way had better watch out.
In this case, Trump is clearly laying the negativity on thick now to try and “abort” the DeSantis campaign before it even reaches viability. Rumors abound as to DeSantis’s intentions and the consensus still seems to be that he’ll run for president and officially announce his bid in the days or weeks after the Florida legislature wraps up its current session next week.
In case it wasn’t obvious, Trump’s campaign brains – and almost assuredly the candidate himself – reason it would be much easier to ramp up the heat now and force DeSantis to bow-out on his own rather than wage an expensive and potentially disastrously divisive primary campaign against the man who everyone (or practically everyone) views as the leader of the next generation of conservative Republicans. While Trump has never been effusive in his praise of DeSantis, there was no hint of this type of animosity prior to the lead-up to the 2024 GOP nominating season, either.
It was only when Trump gradually regained his political stature after January 6, 2021, that he openly criticized DeSantis for anything. When there’s a man with an ego the size of Trump’s, he doesn’t want the adoration of the MAGA crowd to go to anyone but himself. Trump built the movement; he wants to be seen as its leader in perpetuity – or at least as long as he is still standing. Therefore, DeSantis is a threat to Trump’s legacy – and the knives have come out.
Don’t forget that Trump didn’t even settle on a signature nickname -- “DeSanctimonious” -- for DeSantis until after the former president had officially announced his 2024 candidacy. Trump is no political neophyte and clearly sees that he must launch preemptive strikes to try and drive down DeSantis’s positive ratings before it’s too late to do so. The Florida governor received rave reviews during a time (the COVID farce) in which Trump was struggling mightily to maintain a hold on public opinion three years ago.
In other words, while the establishment media, the heinous Democrats and many in his own party were coming out of the woodworks to criticize Trump, Ron DeSantis was receiving nearly across-the-board praise for how much freedom was maintained in Florida, thanks largely to the 2018 winner’s policies. I myself know folks who moved to Florida since the COVID farce and love it “down there” for its thriving economy and general sense that their governor is on the side of freedom lovers – in business, culture, and policy.
It’s almost as though you have to purposely try not to like Ron DeSantis – he’s got a beautiful young family, a friendly personal demeanor and possesses a record of governance that’s virtually unassailable on the policy front. Not only that, as one of the founding members of the House Freedom Caucus, he’s a true believer in limited government.
If Floridian conservatives are the least bit ambivalent about DeSantis running for president this year it’s because they don’t want to lose him as governor of their own state. Selfish? Yes, but who could rightly blame them? Every time we turn around it seems Florida has enacted some policy that stimulates conservative praise. The Sunshine State has evolved into the anti-woke kingdom, largely under the leadership of one man and a cooperative legislature.
DeSantis sees what he wants and goes after it, a refreshing change from so many Republicans who waffle and waver and poll sample public favor – and then ultimately chicken out from doing anything. DeSantis has guts – and he doesn’t shrink from a good fight.
So what is Trump really doing these days? He’s ramping up the negativity to put doubt in people’s minds that DeSantis is really as successful and competent as he appears to be, that maybe there’s something not quite right with the mid-forties governor of the state where everyone seems to want to move to. Is DeSantis real? Why is he taking on “The Mouse” in a dirty slime campaign? Doesn’t “DeSanctimonious” like family entertainment?
The 45th president instinctively recognizes that he can’t win the 2024 Republican nomination without first making a dent in the impression most everyone has that Ron DeSantis is everything Trump is not from a personality standpoint. The Florida governor is as young as Trump is old, is as popular as Trump feels he should be, but isn’t, and has a virtual lifetime ahead of him to vie for the top spot on some future Republican ticket.
Contrary to the smear campaign of late, I don’t believe that Trump dislikes DeSantis personally, nor does he distrust the direction that the country would take under the much younger man’s guidance. It seems obvious that Trump is turning up the heat to try and bring DeSantis’s favorable ratings down to the point where the native Floridian wouldn’t stand a chance in the 2024 GOP primaries.
And by the looks of it, Trump is winning the battle – handily. What better visual could there be than watching the former president being led into a New York courtroom to answer to trumped-up charges from an ambitious George Soros funded prosecutor? Everyone who reads the news knows that New York City is a cesspool of crime, drug addiction and homelessness – yet the man tasked with enforcing the law in Gotham goes after an elderly man who purportedly paid to silence a porn star?
What Republican in their right mind is going to side with the Democrats on that one? It’s no easy chore to make Donald Trump look like a victim, but the liberals in New York are doing their darndest to accomplish just that – and they’re succeeding!
Anyone who still doubts that Donald Trump will do anything to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination should have long since given up hope he’ll settle for a “traditional” campaign. Some of the man’s actions seem inexplicable until you return to the basic truth: the most important thing in Trump’s world is the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, and he’ll stop at nothing to get it.
(Note: When Trump sticks to concentrating on Biden, he’s very effective. Here’s Trump’s reaction to senile Joe Biden’s reelection announcement.)
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