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Tipsheet

Let's Talk About Ron DeSantis' Response to the Rumored Trump Indictment

Screenshot via YouTube

Over the weekend, as rumors swirled about a possible impending indictment of Donald Trump, some of the president's most vocal online supporters seemed to be heavily preoccupied with...Ron DeSantis, and his lack of public reaction to the situation.  The gist of the griping was, why isn't he speaking out on behalf of our president?  He's showing his true, selfish, disloyal colors.  We discussed these complaints on Fox, and I made a few points -- including how rich it was for this crowd to loudly insist that the man Trump has been attacking on a daily basis must rush to Trump's defense based on unconfirmed reports and conjecture.  My guess was that DeSantis would respond to the story if and when there were any confirmed details:  

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DeSantis blasted the FBI's Mar-A-Lago search last summer as "totally off the rails" and example of how federal agencies "have now been weaponized to be used against people that the government doesn’t like."  As Julio reported yesterday, DeSantis weighed in Monday morning after someone asked him to comment at a press conference.  If you missed it, here's how Florida's governor handled the matter:


This answer is a two-fer, if not a three-fer. He blasts Alvin Bragg as an activist, soft-on-crime, Soros-backed prosecutor, highlighting the glaring enforcement double standard we discussed yesterday.  He frames the would-be indictment (first noting that there were still no hard facts at the time the question was asked) as another "weaponization" of law enforcement in pursuit of a "political agenda," which is what Trump supporters have been arguing, and which is also plainly true.  And he pointedly notes that he personally "could not speak to" a scenario in which someone is in the position of paying hush money to a porn star over an alleged affair.  Trump denies the affair, of course, and calls the adult performer with whom he allegedly had sex "horse face," but one might reasonably conclude that he didn't voluntarily or randomly funnel six figures to her out of the goodness of his heart.  The not-so-subtle message from DeSantis: Do we really, truly want to go with this guy again?  By the way, I'm just over here working, alongside my wife and young children, without any sordid allegations like this weighing me down as baggage.  

In other words, it's a broadside against Bragg and his ilk (and his left-wing funders and enablers), its a sharp criticism of politically-motivated abuses in the criminal justice system that target political opponents, and it's a contrast between his own personal conduct and the various messes Trump gets himself into.  And then there's the pivot back to the I'm busy governing down here posture that he's going to use as both a weapon and a shield for the next few months as he wraps up the legislative session and builds up to an expected presidential announcement, likely in late May or June.  This combination has predictably been declared insufficient by the hardcore Trumpers, who believe the only appropriate course of action is for DeSantis to declare he will not seek the presidency and immediately and full-throatedly endorse Trump.  But how will the answer sit with other GOP primary voters who are watching this situation unfold -- angry about what Bragg is doing to Trump, but also questioning whether another round of Trump's endless, high-decibel drama would put the party in the strongest position to win a crucially important election next year? I'll leave you with Florida's chief executive returning to his regularly-scheduled programming on social media -- and another possible GOP 2024 entrant torching him over his Ukraine stance:

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The official campaign has been relatively quiet so far.  The shadow campaign is well underway and the elbows are already sharp.

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