by Frank Holmes, reporter
The legacy media bled viewers the day former President Donald Trump left office, but they think they’ve found a new way to leverage the president for ratings: by ginning up a controversy between Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
In the days before the 2022 midterm elections, the media exploded with stories of that Trump planned to publicly shame DeSantis into backing down from challenging Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
“Has the Trump-DeSantis fued finally broken the surface?” asked The Washington Post.
“The DeSantis-Trump rivalry has already begun,” answered USA Today.
“DeSantis-Trump tension on display in Florida just before Election Day,” said the Tampa Bay Times.
To an extent, Trump has fallen into the media trap by attacking DeSantis, personally and through his surrogates.
“DeSantis is DeSantis because of Trump. He needs to stay in Florida,” his lawyer, Alina Habba, told the pro-Trump Right Side Broadcasting Network. “Just stay where you are. You are doing a great job in Florida.”
“Don’t jump the gun,” she told DeSantis, adding, “He’s not ready yet.”
Donald Trump also piled on, saying DeSantis “could hurt himself very badly” if he threw his hat into the ring alongside Trump’s red MAGA hat.
Trump also rolled out one of his signature attacks from the 2016 primaries: Giving DeSantis a nickname.
During his election-eve rally in Ohio for Senator-elect J.D. Vance, Trump displayed poll results showing him dominating GOP primary voters in 2024. “There it is: Trump at 71; Ron DeSanctimonious at 10 percent,” Trump said.
“We’re winning big, big, big in the Republican Party for the nomination,” Trump bragged.
DeSantis has held his tongue in public, thanking his most famous constituent for his service in the White House, without committing to stay out of the race himself.
But are the men really rivals, or is this Fake News?
The two Floridians are definitely working together to defeat congressional Democrats. At a recent rally, Trump highlighted the way Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi lit into him for calling murderous MS-13 gang members “animals” during his time in office. “Pelosi said, ‘Please don’t call them animals, they’re human beings,’” the 45th president remembered. “I said, ‘No, they’re animals.’”
“Of course, I think she’s an animal, too, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said, unloading on the short-term Speaker.
DeSantis also said he wants Pelosi out of the picture this election cycle.
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“Hopefully, they retire Nancy Pelosi,” he told a Florida crowd two weeks ago.
While the two men are politically aligned, the media claimed the two refuse to work together.
Newsweek quoted Donald Trump’s estranged niece, Mary, that the president “hates” DeSantis so much, he wouldn’t even vote for him.
But that’s not what happened on the ground. Trump endorsed DeSantis and said publicly that he joined in DeSantis’ headline-grabbing landslide win.
“Did you vote for Governor DeSantis?” someone asked Trump as he left a polling place in Palm Beach.
“Yes, I did,” Trump replied.
President Trump voted for Ron DeSantis 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/SSjeqGaqIx
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) November 8, 2022
Trump has even raised the possibility of naming DeSantis as his running mate in the recent past.
“Could you envision a world, sir, where there is a Trump/DeSantis ticket in 2024?” Newsmax asked Trump over the summer.
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“Well, I get along with him,” Trump replied. “I was very responsible for his success, because I endorsed him and he went up like a rocket ship.”
“I don’t know if Ron is running, and I don’t ask him,” he said at the time, adding that pursuing the nation’s highest office is “his prerogative.”
No one doubts DeSantis would make a formidable opponent. He raised $200 million in campaign donations for his smashing, 20-point reelection, breaking the record for the largest financial haul in American gubernatorial history. DeSantis spent only a little over $100 million while cruising to his triumph over former Governor Charlie Crist, leaving him with more than $90 million in his war chest.
But then, money has never been Trump’s weak point.
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Are these news outlets reporting honestly on real tensions between potential 2024 presidential rivals?
Or are reporters stirring up strife between the two most successful members of the Republican Party, because they know a long and costly primary campaign would leave the GOP weaker against the Democratic candidate?
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”