No matter which office a candidate seeks, it’s the party primary they have to go through in order to win the nomination that sometimes can be the tougher battle as each person tries to “out-conservative” or “out-liberal” their opponent (or paint them as too extreme), engaging in a type of “friendly fire” (and in some instances decidedly unfriendly fire) that is hard to forgive on down the line in the process.
We saw it during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign season between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in the 2016 Dem primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and in the 2016 GOP presidential primary race between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and several others.
We’re seeing it again on the Republican side as the 2024 GOP primary battle shapes up, with Trump hitting out hard at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, though DeSantis hasn’t yet thrown his hat into the ring (from the looks of things, it’s only a matter of time).
On Monday, Trump went after DeSantis again, proclaiming that Florida is only doing as well as it is now because of past governors, including Rick Scott and Charlie Crist:
It was the video version of a post he wrote for Truth Social in February praising Crist and Scott while suggesting DeSantis deserved no credit.
The weird thing about it is, though, that Trump had very different things to say about Crist in 2020:
And there is also this:
As was the case with the ridiculous “he’s a groomer” attack, it’s hard to understand Trump’s logic on this. Does he really think downplaying DeSantis’ accomplishments – which even some of his Democratic opposition have acknowledged, praising a political chameleon/sellout like Crist and a Florida Senator who the MAGA faithful don’t like is going to win over converts, or is this some type of “4D chess” game where only Trump understands the strategy and everyone else is supposed to assume he’s on to something?
In my opinion, this is Trump sort of throwing everything at DeSantis but the kitchen sink and hoping something sticks in time to derail his candidacy before he’s even declared it. He might want to watch out, though, because this is not 2016, and the Republican field – including those who have already declared as well as those who are preparing to – have had the benefit of witnessing six years of Trump on the national political stage (with some doing so up close), first in the 2016 race and the four years he was president, and you can rest assured that they know exactly what buttons to push to get him to explode.
Flashback: ‘Reporter’ Says It’s Her Job to Make Ron DeSantis ‘Uncomfortable,’ Things Don’t Go as Planned