As the burgeoning rift between former President Donald Trump and his protege Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spills into the public arena, the Sunshine State governor is bracing for a storm.
Thus far, DeSantis has largely refrained from returning heavy fire as Trump pummels him in his remarks, and at least one source close to Trump believes it could be an effective strategy.
”The best thing for DeSantis is Trump gets in, DeSantis stays out for a while, and Trump runs a race against himself for the next six months,” a source close to Trump told Axios.
Back in the 2016 primary, Trump bulldozed through his GOP rivals by lodging hefty broadsides their way, unnerving some of them and forcing others to try to mirror his unencumbered attack style. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) notably held out for a while, before finally snapping back at Trump during the later stages of the primary cycle.
Seeing DeSantis as a threat, Trump brandished his nickname disparagement ploy against DeSantis, dubbing him “DeSanctimonous” shortly before election day. He later took to social media and rolled out a string of attacks.
Unlike most of the political foes he faced, DeSantis has been largely restrained in the face of Trump’s onslaught.
“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis gently quipped Tuesday.
DeSantis supporters have juxtaposed the strong Republican showing in Florida with the weak outing nationally and have pinned the blame on Trump for elevating poor candidates.