Key Trump backers seen at DeSantis event in Florida

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Several big-name supporters of former President Donald Trump showed this week that they are at least willing to associate with the man most likely to stand between Trump and a third consecutive Republican nomination. 

As first reported by Politico, the likes of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) were among attendees at an event hosted by DeSantis in Palm Springs, Florida. It was the latest in a series of high-profile moves DeSantis has made in advance of a likely announcement that he will seek the presidency in 2024.  

“Gov. Stitt believes Ron DeSantis has done an excellent job leading as Florida’s governor, especially through COVID, supporting law enforcement, reforming education, and supporting parental rights,” Politico quoted Carly Atchison, a spokesperson for Stitt, as saying. 

The event was built around the theme of using Florida’s approach to governance, education, crime, and the idea of “wokeness” was a model worth copying in other states and at the federal level.

“Americans are fleeing cities governed by leftist politicians as violent crime has surged due to woke, anti-police policies,” DeSantis tweeted last week. “NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago should follow Florida’s lead and reject soft-on-crime policies.”

The “follow the Free State of Florida” message has resonated to such a degree that Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), and former Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxal all felt comfortable attending, although not all of these men are strong allies of Trump.  

At least two major Trump fundraisers – Arizona executive Jim Lamon and Texas Republican Roy Bailey, the latter of whom has previously been a key figure on Trump’s campaign committee – also attended. 

It is important, as always, to analyze this new development with measure. Were the Trump allies to have openly stated they’d changed their allegiance, this would have been among the more profound developments of the still-young 2024 presidential campaign. 

However, since the Trump advocates did not endorse DeSantis – and could not have endorsed DeSantis even if they wanted to since he isn’t officially a candidate – the Florida event can be understood in fairly unsensational terms. 

Despite Trump’s tendency to treat DeSantis as an enemy, for most elected Republicans the Florida governor ranks potentially or actually as an important ally. 

For the sake of the political survival of anyone on the right, Republicans will have to find a way to coexist both now and after the 2024 nominee is decided. As such, this collection of prominent conservative attendees was likely an attempt to prevent what is already shaping up to be a contentious campaign from demolishing the entire party prior to the general election. 

In short, the officials at DeSantis’ event were signaling they’ll rally behind whoever emerges from the Republican field. 

Johnson’s office said as much over the weekend. 

“Sen. Johnson historically does not endorse in primaries and plans to continue this trend and remain impartial in 2024,” Politico quoted Corinne Day, a Johnson spokesperson, as saying. 

Trump, though, continues to frame the matter in terms of DeSantis being an agent of evil who has achieved nothing and must be shunned from conservative circles. 

“Florida was doing GREAT long before Ron DeSanctus got there,” Trump posted on Truth Social last week. “People are fleeing from New York to Florida (and other places) because of high TAXES and out of control CRIME, not because of Governor (thank you President Trump!) DeSanctimonious. Rick Scott did great, and even Charlie Crist had very good numbers. SUNSHINE AND OCEAN, very alluring!!!”

Trump has also used Truth Social to share the results of a Twitter poll that suggests (non-scientifically) that Trump is 29 percentage points ahead of DeSantis in 2024 projections and repeat the claim that DeSantis has been endorsed by billionaire progressive George Soros.

While more credible sources than a Twitter poll have Trump as the most likely nominee, Soros has not endorsed DeSantis. Rather, as previously reported by FISM, Soros has cynically predicted DeSantis would defeat Trump in the primary, a prognostication the billionaire openly admits he’s made as a means of sowing discontent among Republicans and greasing the skids for a Democrat win.