Trump and His Supporters Ignoring DeSantis, Proving His Irrelevance
When popular Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced his bid for the White House, he seemed a threat to President Trump. This was evidenced by the quick and sharp attacks from the former president and his followers and surrogates on DeSantis that started almost as soon as the Florida governor announced his campaign. But now, many months later, those attacks have all but stopped, which only serves to prove that DeSantis is now irrelevant to Trumpworld.
Two months ago, one of the leaders of the pro-Ron DeSantis PAC “Never Back Down” assessed what a really troubling scenario would look like for the candidate who seemed to have been anointed as GOP’s savior.
“What would concern me,” Chris Jankowski, the PAC’s CEO, said in a July interview with The New York Times, “is if I woke up one day and Trump and his team were not attacking Never Back Down and Ron DeSantis.”
“That would be concerning,” Jankowski continued. “Other than that, we’ve got them right where we want them.”
In the two short months since saying that to the Times, it seems that Jankowski’s doomsday scenario has come true.
As the Florida governor runs out of time to mount a serious challenge for the nomination, the biggest pro-Trump trolls have begun to look at him less as a threat and more as another grave in Donald Trump’s cemetery of GOP political rivals.
“He still comes up in conversation, but the fire is gone because he’s already toast,” a Trump adviser said of DeSantis. “It was fun nuking him, though.”
A second Trump adviser compared DeSantis to the former Arkansas governor in the race, polling at an average of 0.4 percent.
“It doesn’t take Einstein to see that DeSantis has shrunk so low in the polls that, at this point, he poses as much of a threat of winning the GOP nomination as Asa Hutchinson does,” this adviser said.
As to the bar of DeSantis’ irrelevancy to Trump being set at the level of attacks against him, in a Sunday interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker, Trump only mentioned DeSantis by name once. And more to the point, the most recent ad from the pro-Trump PAC is an entirely conventional commercial comparing the former president’s economic record to President Joe Biden’s.
“He went down like an injured bird out of the sky,” Trump said at a recent speech in front of the Concerned Women for America Summit in D.C., an increasingly rare reference to the man who was once his biggest GOP threat.
At the beginning of the year, before he launched his campaign, DeSantis was neck-and-neck with Trump in some polls. Now, he trails by an average of more than 40 points, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker.
While DeSantis’ poll and fundraising numbers may be the most directly threatening data points for his campaign, the disappearing interest that MAGA influencers and the former president himself have in attacking their hated rival captures how the primary has settled into a smooth Trump coronation.