DeSantis Under Attack from Trump and Democrats as He Prepares Presidential Bid

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing attacks from former President Donald Trump and Florida Democrats as he prepares to mount a likely campaign for president in 2024.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing attacks from former President Donald Trump and Florida Democrats as he prepares to mount a likely campaign for president in 2024.

  • Nikki Fried, the Florida Democratic Party Chair and a failed challenger to DeSantis in 2022, filed an ethics complaint alleging that DeSantis inappropriately accepted gifts from his political action committee. DeSantis’s team dismissed the complaint as “politically motivated” and warned Democrats “it’s inappropriate to use ethics complaints for partisan purposes.”
  • Evan Power, the Vice Chair of the Florida GOP, mocked Fried in a statement. ““Nikki Fried filing an ethics complaint is like asking Freddy [Krueger] to set up a first aid tent,” Power said of Fried, who faced her own ethics complaints while serving as Florida Agriculture Commissioner.
  • Fried’s complaint comes two weeks after allies of former President Donald Trump filed their own ethics complaint accusing DeSantis of violating campaign finance laws by running a “shadow” presidential campaign. Team DeSantis similarly dismissed that complaint as “politically motivated” and “frivolous.”
  • Trump and the Democrats appear to be colluding against DeSantis, using similar tactics to weaken DeSantis, who won reelection in a historic landslide, before he runs for President.
  • The former President got a wakeup call about his aggressive and intensely personal attacks on DeSantis at his first major campaign rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday. Trump ranted about DeSantis for an extended period at the rally, including claiming he came “crying, begging” for an endorsement in 2018. Trump’s diatribe was met with a frosty silence from his own supporters.
  • Meanwhile, DeSantis continues to rack up policy achievements expected to bolster his likely bid for the White House. On Monday, the Florida governor signed into law a bill allowing all K-12 students in Florida to use taxpayer-funded vouchers for schools. This ensures “that the money should follow the student and it should be direct based on what the parent thinks is the most appropriate education program for their child,” as DeSantis said at the signing ceremony.
  • On Tuesday, DeSantis announced he would travel to Israel in April for a trade mission that also follows a longstanding tradition among Republican presidential hopefuls of visiting Israel during the campaign.
  • At this point, it would be more surprising for DeSantis to decline to run for president.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Semafor reported DeSantis does not text or email in his official capacity and exclusively communicates with in-person meetings or phone calls. Given Florida’s Sunshine Law mandating public transparency and that DeSantis is “enemy number one for a lot of people,” the governor is taking more of a “‘better safe than sorry’ approach.”
  • The Washington Post ranked the top 10 candidates for the GOP nomination as of this week. Trump and DeSantis swapped spots, with Trump taking the first spot and DeSantis the second. Sen. Tim Scott comes in third with Mike Pence and Nikki Haley rounding out the top five.
  • The New York Times reported on growth of Never Back Down, the super PAC set up to support a DeSantis presidential run. The PAC just hired Matt Wolking, a senior communications official on the Trump 2020 campaign, and is run by Ken Cuccinelli, a top immigration official during the Trump administration.



  • The Washington Examiner reported the DeSantis trip to Israel is meant to “bolster his foreign policy chops” and will include delivering the keynote address at a Celebrate the Faces of Israel event.
  • Fox News noted the DeSantis school choice law makes Florida the fourth state to enact universal school choice in 2023 alone. DeSantis’s office said in a statement the law will “further cement Florida’s position as the nation’s leader in school choice.”
  • National Review’s Jim Geraghty outlined the “opportunity and the risk” facing DeSantis ahead of his likely presidential campaign. DeSantis’s moves to appeal to Very Online and very conservative Republicans may hurt his appeal to center-right voters critical to winning the 2024 presidential primary – voters Trump won decisively over Ted Cruz in 2016.


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© Dominic Moore, 2023