Chuck Todd Doubts DeSantis’ Political Strategy: ‘I Don’t Know If Trump Supporters Accept the Premise That They’ve Been Losing’

Just under a week after CNN’s explosive town hall with Donald Trump, NBC News’ Chuck Todd is doubling down on how Republican opponent Ron DeSantis might be able to successfully edge himself into the 2024 presidential race.

As Wednesday’s live event in New Hampshire became the talk of the town, “Today” host Willie Geist noted Sunday that DeSantis took a subtle approach of “indirect criticism” of the former president during his early campaigning. That strategy made Todd doubt the controversial Florida governor’s plan to overtake Trump in a race for the Republican nomination in next year’s election.

“If those remarks are an indication of the strategy, I don’t know if that’s gonna work because I don’t know if Trump’s supporters accept the premise that they’ve been losing,” Todd told Geist on “Sunday Today.” “He’s gonna say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna keep losing.’ Well, Donald Trump has convinced his supporters they haven’t been losing, they’ve been winning — ‘the deep state and Democrats and the media have been in cahoots to sort of rig it against them’ — that’s the problem here.”

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“What I noticed this week is the just sheer paralysis that Republican elected officials have when it comes to dealing with Trump,” the “Meet the Press” moderator continued, pointing to Tuesday’s verdict that found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll.

With the town hall taking place just one day after the decision was revealed, Trump used the platform to continue to defame and shame the writer as his derogatory comments were met with laughter from the GOP-leaning live audience.

“So here he is convicted by a jury of defamation about a sexual assault and it was crickets from his party,” Todd said, noting that even former VP Mike Pence — someone who Todd says has built his political career on the idea of “wearing your morality on your sleeve” — refused to take a stand on the topic, instead saying that only the media was interested in the verdict.

“I don’t think they have figured out how to take him on yet, and that’s Ron DeSantis as well,” Todd concluded.

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