The beginning of what will likely be a long hot summer in American politics is upon us. A growing number of Republican presidential candidates continue to present their case to GOP voters, while also trying to regain some of the lost air caused by Donald Trump’s indictment.
Florida Governor Rick Scott is the GOP candidate who has received the most attention from the media outside of former President Barack Obama. Ron DeSantis visited California recently, along with many of his rivals. He was treated to some on-point, well-deserved trolling by Gov. Gavin Newsom commenced.
DeSantis then returned to Florida and held a news conference on Thursday at Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, to discuss the reforms his administration is implementing in higher education. DeSantis, during the presser, was asked if he would support Trump should he win the GOP nomination.
DeSantis reacted by pivoting on Trump’s criticisms of his handling of the Wuhan virus outbreak in the Sunshine State. He noted that it was at odds with what Trump said when he was President:
What I would say, is that. You are being a liar when you say that Cuomo performed better than Florida on Covid. No one believes it. Do you know how I know this? In 2020 or 2021 I recall him praising Florida as being open. He said we were doing it better than New York, Michigan, and everyone was flocking to Florida. And that [I] was one of the greatest governors in the United States. He used to say this all the time.
Do you think it’s credible that his song is suddenly changing? Do you really find it credible? Would you rather have been in New York under the [Cuomo] regime during Covid? Would you have preferred to be in Florida, the state that is free?
There are probably fewer Republicans in the United States than I can count who would prefer to be under Cuomo’s leadership in New York. We know this, so these criticisms are frivolous. In some ways, I think that it shows you don’t really have good arguments if you are forced to make this argument. Because in reality, everything he has said for years about our strength, our ability, and how we have delivered for the government, was true.
Now he is trying to go back because he feels he must do so, and he says things that are not true. It’s okay if you do. I don’t think that people will buy it. I don’t think it’s going to be important in the end. I think we’re going to be successful.
It’s not that I don’t want to win, but it is that you need to be involved in these processes. “I will do it, I will accomplish that. But, more importantly, I’ll bring these policies to DC and make them happen.”
He went on to say that when Republicans make promises and you fail to deliver, Democrats will come in and do whatever they want. Insinuating we should avoid this situation.
DeSantis said the primary process was “important” and that he would respect the result of the nomination race, even if it didn’t lead to him winning.
You respect that process and the decisions of the people. “But I’m confident that these decisions will be positive for us.”
.@henryrodgersdc: “Would you support Trump as the GOP nominee?”
.@GovRonDeSantis: “When you are saying that Cuomo did better on COVID than Florida did, you are revealing yourself to…be full of it.
Nobody believes that.” pic.twitter.com/cwPJ6nVdNZ
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 22, 2023
I have long disliked the “Will you support the nominee?” questions that get asked early on in the primary races because though well-intended, they end up being “gotchas” that get used against the candidates later on.
DeSantis has been criticized by the usual social media corners for not committing outright to support Trump at this point in the game. But it is important to note that Trump – as he did back in 2016, has not committed to backing the eventual nominee, and will not likely do so because he believes that his polling numbers are where they are now, that it will be him.
DeSantis has clearly shifted his tune about how he managed his state in comparison to the former NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The debates could prove to be a pivotal moment in both campaigns, as Republican voters are still aware of what was done to this country under the pretext of “safety.”