Ron DeSantis (R) plans to sit back and wait for Donald Trump to “punch himself out” in his race for the presidency, a source has told Politico.
The Florida governor hasn’t declared that he’s running for the GOP presidential nomination, but it’s widely expected that he will. Trump apparently views DeSantis as a contender waiting in the wings and has increasingly attacked his one-time ally.
DeSantis will reportedly bide his time and avoid tussles with Trump as he awaits a hoped-for implosion by the former president.
Trump’s announcement Tuesday that he’s running yet again for the presidency is “fairly irrelevant” to DeSantis, a Republican consultant told Politico.
One political donor said that Trump’s announcement was always anticipated and was already “baked into the formula” for DeSantis’ future plans.
Now, the Republican governor “has the opportunity to spend the next several months governing while Trump has to try and convince people he still has the ability and faculties to govern effectively,” the consultant said.
“DeSantis controls his time frame right now, so it’s almost like he gets to watch Trump punch himself out,” he added.
Stephen Lawson, a Georgia-based strategist who was communications director for DeSantis’ 2018 run for governor, claims that the “normal average Republican” is ready to back DeSantis over Trump.
Trump comes with a lot of baggage, including two impeachments, the Jan. 6 insurrection, the classified White House documents he stashed at Mar-a-Lago, and the dismal GOP midterm results, Lawson noted.
Trump and his pitbull operative Roger Stone have been going after DeSantis for months. They both pulled out the nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious” for him. They have repeatedly insisted that it would be a betrayal for DeSantis to run against Trump, who claims he was responsible for DeSantis’ first victory. Stone has said it would be “treachery” for DeSantis to run.
Trump even made a wild claim that he “fixed” the 2018 election for DeSantis by ordering the FBI and Department of Justice to stop vote counting before he lost. There’s no evidence he did so.
DeSantis generally has not responded to Trump’s attacks.
But when asked about Trump’s comments after his reelection win, DeSantis said at a press conference: “When you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire, that’s just the nature of it. I would tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday [election] night.”