Florida Man v. Florida Man: The Trump-DeSantis Cold War Heats Up

The cold war between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis heated up Sunday with new reporting on the tensions between the 2024 frontrunners.


Florida’s two most powerful men, former president Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis, are on a slow-motion collision course ahead of the 2024 GOP presidential primary.


reporting from the left side of the aisle




  • Ron DeSantis swiped at Trump on the Ruthless Podcast, saying his only regret was not standing against Fauci and national lockdowns sooner. Of course, it was Trump who put Fauci front-and-center, pushed lockdown policies  and criticized states for reopening “too soon.”
  • Hot Air’s Allahpundit analyzed “the inevitable Trump/DeSantis war” and its “surprising” first skirmish.
  • National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty observes that when it comes to the Trump-DeSantis matchup, DeSantis is the “de facto national leader on [ending Covid restrictions] while Trump is sending out incomprehensible press releases about evidence of fraud.”

Author’s Take

A slew of potential 2024 candidates, from Nikki Haley to Marco Rubio to Rick Scott have said they won’t run if Trump does. DeSantis, former vice president Mike Pence, Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, ex-New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton have declined to make similar statements.

“Trump attacks DeSantis on vaccines” and “DeSantis implies Trump was Fauci’s lockdown pawn” weren’t on my 2024 bingo card. Trump was the most famous person to run for president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, and would be the first president to mount a comeback bid since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. The challenge facing Trump’s potential rivals is stark: Trump starts off with universal name-ID, a grievance narrative about supposed fraud, is still popular with GOP voters and has an immense campaign war chest.

Clearly, DeSantis has decided to draw lines in the sand between him and Trump early. DeSantis realizes what Ted Cruz never did: you can’t beat Trump by sucking up to him and hoping he implodes. On Twitter, Republican strategist Liam Donovan summed up potential Trump rivals’ challenge by quoting wrestling legend Ric Flair: “to be the man you gotta beat the man.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2022