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Tipsheet

New Trump Video: Ron DeSantis Hasn't Done Anything Special in Florida, Where Charlie Crist Did a Good Job

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In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis literally laughed off a question about his recent travel schedule, which has been fueling speculation that he's grearing up for a 2024 presidential run. DeSantis is promoting his new book, which notably outsold similar offerings from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in its first post-publication week. The governor's tour has already included multiple stops in Iowa, a swing through Nevada, and will soon bring him to New Hampshire. Bartiromo asked the unavoidably obvious question: 

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Sunday laughed off the idea that a trip to Iowa over the weekend was an indication that he was preparing to run for president, instead saying his travels were focused on promoting his new book. When asked by “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo if DeSantis’s trip was a “first indication” that he was running for president, DeSantis briefly paused, then let out a laugh. “It’s the first indication that we have got a great book that people are buying,” DeSantis responded. “We had a lot of interest.”

The Washington Post reported last week that DeSantis has indicated to confidantes that he's preparing to run for the presidency, as an aligned outside group has already launched.  If and when he takes the plunge, likely after the current legislative session in late spring, DeSantis would enter the race as the only contender within shouting distance of Donald Trump in national primary polls, and leading Trump in a number of state-level surveys.  Clearly, he's avoiding tipping his hand or getting ahead of his own potential announcement with dodges like his response to Bartiromo -- but in other respects, what's coming isn't exactly subtle.  Does this look like a "book tour" hype video to you, or does it look more like something else?

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"A freer and safer nation," you say? And you're "just getting started"?  How very mysterious.  I watched large segments of DeSantis' two events in the Hawkeye State on Friday, and one portion of his remarks stood out to me.  In his book (which makes multiple positive references to Donald Trump, I might add), DeSantis writes about his zero tolerance for members of his team who put themselves, gossip, or drama ahead of the mission and vision of his administration.  If someone leaks or undermines the team, they're sent packing immediately, he explains.  It's a relatively short passage in the book, but the governor has been highlighting -- strategically, in my view -- that message in front of conservative audiences:


He said the same thing to an audience at a Reagan Foundation event last week in California, drawing a contrast that isn't quite explicit, but is unavoidably overt:

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Unlike certain other people who shall remain nameless for now, DeSantis might have added.  But he didn't -- yet.  Meanwhile, as DeSantis continues to avoid taking any direct shots at Trump, Trump continues his daily onslaught against DeSantis.  The Trump campaign put out this video attacking Florida's governor yesterday, in which the ex-president claims that DeSantis hasn't done anything special in his state -- and really hasn't performed notably better than the likes of Charlie Crist:


This video was received rather poorly by many conservatives online.  The replies and quote tweets were heavily negative toward Trump, leaving some wondering when the pro-Trump bots might be deployed to try to even things up a little:

Over the past 11 months, someone created thousands of fake, automated Twitter accounts — perhaps hundreds of thousands of them — to offer a stream of praise for Donald Trump. Besides posting adoring words about the former president, the fake accounts ridiculed Trump’s critics from both parties and attacked Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador who is challenging her onetime boss for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. When it came to Ron DeSantis, the bots aggressively suggested that the Florida governor couldn’t beat Trump, but would be a great running mate. As Republican voters size up their candidates for 2024, whoever created the bot network is seeking to put a thumb on the scale, using online manipulation techniques pioneered by the Kremlin to sway the digital platform conversation about candidates while exploiting Twitter’s algorithms to maximize their reach. The sprawling bot network was uncovered by researchers at Cyabra, an Israeli tech firm that shared its findings with The Associated Press. While the identity of those behind the network of fake accounts is unknown, Cyabra’s analysts determined that it was likely created within the U.S.
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I'll leave you with MSNBC doing its thing (it's pretty unusual for people to flock in record numbers to a place being "destroyed"), as well as my bottom-line, early 2024 primary analysis.  I also observed that Trump palpably considers DeSantis to be a threat, based on his incessant criticism, dating back months (and the Democrats clearly agree).  That was before his team published the 'Truth Social' rant-in-video-form, embedded above:  


Whether Trump's barrage works remains to be seen, but as I said in the clip, the path to the nomination runs through him. It'll either be Trump, or someone else.  And Team Trump is not making a secret of who it most fears that someone else could be.


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