Florida Governor Ron DeSantis studiously averted even mentioning Donald Trump’s identify for months, as a substitute making veiled references to the “tradition of shedding” within the Republican occasion.
The veil is off.
Within the days following his announcement that he would problem Trump for the Republican nomination for president, DeSantis has accused him of “operating to the left.”
He’s drawing contrasts with the previous president on a variety of points together with abortion, immigration and the financial system.
And — in a transfer DeSantis portrayed as the last word betrayal of conservative values — he says Trump was “siding with Disney” within the governor’s feud with the large company and cultural touchstone that’s additionally one of many state’s largest taxpayers and employers.
“I don’t know what occurred to Donald Trump,” he advised WWTN radio in Nashville. “This can be a completely different man in the present day than when he was operating in 2015 and 2016. And I believe, I believe the route that he’s going along with his marketing campaign is the improper route.”
It was one in all greater than a dozen interviews with pleasant media retailers since submitting paperwork to run for president Wednesday. The primary, with Twitter Inc. proprietor Elon Musk, was overshadowed by technical glitches that marred DeSantis’s long-awaited entry into the race.
However his newfound willingness to tackle Trump straight is clarifying the contours of the Republican nomination battle. With DeSantis largely holding his tongue, his problem to Trump was largely a debate over personalities and temperament.
Now, with DeSantis formally within the race and trailing Trump by 33 factors, the governor is staking out harder-line positions on coverage points.
On spending, DeSantis stated Trump shares accountability for the nation’s $31 trillion in debt. “He added virtually $8 trillion in debt in simply 4 years as president,” he stated. “I used to be proper on these points and he wasn’t.”
On abortion, DeSantis defended Florida’s newly enacted six-week abortion ban in opposition to Trump criticism that it was “too harsh” and that DeSantis didn’t know what he was doing.
“He’s operating to the left,” DeSantis stated. However he additionally stopped wanting endorsing the nationwide abortion ban favored by different Republican candidates. “I believe on the finish of the day, we’re going to avoid wasting extra lives with a bottom-up strategy,” he advised conservative discuss radio host Dana Loesch.
On immigration, DeSantis accused Trump of supporting amnesty for undocumented immigrants as a part of a 2018 immigration invoice. “To hit me for taking the America First place I believe is fairly unusual,” DeSantis stated.
The Trump marketing campaign responded that as a congressman, DeSantis voted for a invoice that gave authorized standing to some undocumented minors as a part of a package deal of more durable immigration restrictions, earlier than opposing an identical plan.
On crime, DeSantis criticized the First Step Act, Trump’s signature felony justice invoice, telling conservative podcaster Ben Shapiro Friday that it was “principally a jailbreak invoice.” DeSantis voted for an early model of the invoice however resigned from Congress earlier than the ultimate invoice handed the Home.
And DeSantis repeatedly expressed bewilderment over Trump’s criticism of his dealing with of the Walt Disney Co. DeSantis has moved to strip the corporate of its self-governing standing over Disney’s objections to laws prohibiting instructing on topics of race and sexual identification. Disney canceled plans this month to maneuver 2,000 workers to the state.
“What a multitude it’s,” Trump stated Thursday. “He may have labored out a simple settlement, however no — he wished to point out the faux information how robust a man he’s. He’s not.”
DeSantis clapped again.
“He’s going left on tradition. He’s even sided with Disney in opposition to me,” the Florida governor advised WWTN. “He’s siding with Disney and saying that I used to be improper for standing up with them. So, you recognize, individuals must make their choices about which means they go.”
However at different occasions, DeSantis hewed intently to the Trump line. Requested about Trump’s insistence in a CNN interview that he may resolve Russia’s battle in opposition to Ukraine “in in the future, 24 hours,” DeSantis backed the previous president.
“I don’t know that he can get it finished in 24 hours. I imply, he’s vulnerable to rhetorical thrives,” he advised Newsmax. “However I do suppose his intuition of attempting to get a settlement reasonably than have this factor change into a battle of attrition — or heaven forbid, escalate, with Russia having the biggest nuclear arsenal on the earth — I do suppose that’s the proper intuition.”