Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Gov. Ron DeSantis after prominent Republicans blamed Trump for the party’s disappointing performance in the midterm elections.
Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Gov. Ron DeSantis in a lengthy statement Thursday night. Trump’s unprovoked attack on the most successful Republican candidate from the 2022 midterms comes after prominent Republicans blamed Trump for the party’s disappointing performance in the midterm elections.
- The rambling statement belittled “Ron DeSanctimonious” as “average” and attacked DeSantis for briefly shutting down Florida at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (on the advice of the Trump Administration, which Trump conveniently left out). DeSantis allies told POLITICO the rant smacked of “desperation” and indicated DeSantis lives “rent free in the former president’s head.”
- Trump’s outburst comes as some Trump allies like former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former advisers Jason Miller and David Urban are calling on the former president to delay his expected 2024 campaign announcement. “I think he needs to put it on pause,” McEnany said.
- “Of course, he’s going to claim victory, right? The president touts an accomplishment record that includes victories in uncontested races. He can say whatever he wants. But how do people feel in America? I think people feel not great about the Trump brand right now,” Urban told AP News. “It’s bad.”
- Republicans worry an early Trump announcement could derail the party’s chances in the Georgia Senate runoff. Republicans fear a campaign dominated by Trump’s 2024 bid would just be a rerun of the January 2021 Georgia Senate runoffs, when Trump’s claims of 2020 election fraud alienated independent voters, depressed G.O.P. turnout, and cost the party the Senate.
- Formerly one of Trump’s biggest backers, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire blames Trump for the GOP’s midterm debacle. The New York Post mocked him as “Trumpty Dumpty” and the front-page editorial called Trump “the political equivalent of a can of Raid.”
- The Wall Street Journal editorial board called him the G.O.P.’s “biggest loser.” Fox News was less strident but still was critical enough to be attacked by Trump in the anti-DeSantis screed he published on Truth Social Thursday night.
- Virginia Lt. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, once a vocal Trump supporter, said the midterm results were a “very clear message” that “enough is enough.” “The voters have spoken and they have said that they want a different leader. And a true leader understands when they have become a liability,” Earle-Sears said on Fox Business.
- GOP Sens. John Thune and Pat Toomey blamed Trump for endorsing weak candidates that cost Republicans the Senate majority. “I think my party needs to face the fact that if fealty to Donald Trump is the primary criteria for selecting candidates, we’re probably not gonna do really well,” Toomey said on CNN. “All over the country, there’s a very high correlation between MAGA candidates and big losses or at least dramatically underperforming.”
- The former President apparently remains unfazed by the torrent of criticism, the pleas to stay out of the Georgia runoff, and the lackluster performances of his handpicked candidates. His presidential announcement is still scheduled for Nov. 15 at 9pm, just three weeks before Georgians may once again determine control of the Senate.
- A growing constellation of Trump donors, supporters, and voters now openly support a potential DeSantis 2024 campaign. Should he decide to run for President, the Florida governor isn’t expected to announce a bid until May 2023, after the Florida legislative session ends.
- CNN reported “It is not an accident” that the Murdoch media empire’s post-election coverage casts DeSantis as the Republican Party’s future. Fox News called for “A NEW ERA” under DeSantis’s leadership, the Wall Street Journal hailed the “DeSantis Florida tsunami” while the New York Post said he was simply “DeFuture.”
- The Washington Post broke down exactly “why the 2022 election was such a disaster for Trump.” The Post outlined race after race where Trump’s decision to back a candidate with obvious flaws cost the party in the general election. The list of losers included Trump’s picks in the Pennsylvania governor race, Senate contests in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New Hampshire, and House races in Ohio, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.
- The New York Times assessed how the pro-Trump grassroots proved to be “more liability than asset” in 2022, especially when compared with the Tea Party movement’s resounding victories in the 2010 midterm elections.
- The Washington Examiner outlined six reasons why Trump won’t be able to do to DeSantis what he did to Jeb Bush in 2016. The Examiner noted Trump does not appear to have a principled objection to DeSantis, instead, he just seems jealous.
- “HE NEEDS TO DISAPPEAR” blared the headline of a New York Post cover story on Trump voters who are “done” with the former president. Trump voter after Trump voter told the Post they were “exhausted” with Trump. Several Pennsylvania Republicans specifically blamed him for foisting Mehmet Oz on the party, leaving Pennsylvanians with six years of Senator John Fetterman.
- National Review predicted Trump’s attack on DeSantis’s handling of Covid would “backfire spectacularly” on the former President. In April 2020, Trump sided with Anthony Fauci over DeSantis and criticized him for opening too soon. Author Philip Klein said defining the 2024 campaign over who was more pro-lockdown would be “quite an own goal from Trump.”
© Dominic Moore, 2022