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Why Trump Is Reviving Years-Old Accusations Against DeSantis

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Reuters
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Reuters

While prosecutors appear to be closing in on Donald Trump and preparing to file formal charges, he’s been posting up an absolute storm on Truth Social.

Daily Beast politics reporter Ursula Perano joins this week’s Fever Dreams podcast as a guest host to talk about why Donald Trump deleted a post questioning the sexuality of his presumptive primary opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, only to follow that up with another screed (and accompanying photo) dredging up years-old rumors that the Florida governor behaved inappropriately while partying with high school students during his time as a teacher.

“This is becoming probably the most standout part of his early campaign messaging for 2024,” Perano told co-host Kelly Weill. “I think that this is what Trump does, and this is what worked for him in 2016… really bringing down his primary opponents.”

It’s all happening amid the backdrop of a potential arrest for the former president—which some pundits predict will bolster his re-election campaign. The Fever Dreams team isn’t so sure.

“I am inclined to think that that’s sort of a cope [something you say to make yourself feel better], right?” Weill said. “That’s sort of overthinking it. I mean, do you think that people will rally toward Trump if he is arrested? To my mind, it seems like it’s pretty obvious that arrested equals bad.”

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Plus! Daily Beast reporter Jake Lahut joins the program to talk about his recent reporting on what appears to be DeSantis’ fledgling campaign—including a number of troubling anecdotes about the Florida governor’s ability to make small talk and press the flesh at his early stops in Iowa and elsewhere.

“He’s not like Trump, where all these voters feel like they know who he is from years on TV and being in their living rooms,” Lahut said. “He still has to do a lot of the conventional introductory stuff in these early states … I think that there’s a lot of concern that he’s still untested coming out of Tallahassee and when he finally gets into the deep end here, no one really knows how well he might be able to handle those unscripted interactions.”

Listen, and subscribe, to Fever Dreams on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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