Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t need to kiss the ring anymore. A little-known congressman four years ago, DeSantis is a rising star in the GOP, and it’s not just Donald Trump’s skin he’s getting under.
If Trump is the defending heavyweight champion leading up to the 2024 presidential primary, DeSantis is the scrappy fighter who can throw the former president an unexpected right hook. But he will also have to prove he can take it on the chin from spotlight-hungry Republicans who also want to be president.
Just a week after a poll showed DeSantis and Trump tied among likely Republican presidential primary voters in New Hampshire, that state’s governor took a potshot at Florida’s MAGA governor.
“He raised taxes like a billion dollars or something. . . . I know him. A lot of us get together at conventions and the [Republican Governors Association, where] we trade ideas, he doesn’t participate as much as others, but that’s OK,” Gov. Chris Sununu told reporters Tuesday. Sununu is rumored to be considering a 2024 run, but has sidestepped questions about it.
Sununu appeared to make a reference to a claim Politifact rated “mostly false.” It relates to a bill DeSantis signed last year that requires consumers to pay online sales taxes when buying from out-of-state sellers. Consumers already were supposed to be paying those taxes, but hardly any did. The new law put Florida in line with other states and was expected to generate an extra $1 billion a year in tax revenue.
>@GovChrisSununu on @GovRonDeSantis during @PunchbowlNews event in Concord: "He raised taxes like a billion dollars or something. ... I know him. A lot of us get together at conventions and the [RGA] we trade ideas, he doesn't participate as much as others, but that's okay."
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) June 28, 2022
Sununu’s inaccuracies aside, the old adage that any publicity is good publicity applies to DeSantis. The more pundits, liberals, media commentators and GOP foes bash him, the more buzz he gets.
DeSantis appears to be feeling so confident he has no plans of asking Trump for a formal endorsement in his reelection this fall, Politico reported. Trump’s endorsement in 2018 helped DeSantis steamroll the GOP’s hand-picked candidate for governor. (His name is Adam Putnam, in case you’ve forgotten.)
If anyone should be happy with the work of the Jan. 6 committee in depicting Trump’s disregard for the republic, it should be DeSantis. He beats every Republican at being a more controlled and less morally crippled version of the former president.
At the same time, 2024 is a long way off. We’ve seen a Republican savior or two rise and crash into oblivion. (Remember Scott Walker? Right, that’s what we thought.)