When Donald Trump ran for the presidency in 2016, he took on a very well-funded politician who had been a successful governor of Florida. And he destroyed him. Trump humiliated “low-energy” Jeb Bush, son of one president and brother of another, and trashed his family’s legacy so comprehensively that the Bush-era Republican party is now widely regarded as a disaster.
Jeb messed up again last week. Speaking to Fox News, he semi-endorsed Ron DeSantis, the current Florida governor and Trump’s strongest challenger for the 2024 Republican nomination. “I think we’re on the verge of a generational change, kind of hope so,” said Jeb. “Who better to do it than someone who’s been outside of Washington, who’s governed effectively, who I think has shown that Florida can be a model for the future of our country?”
Talk about the kiss of death. Jeb soon clarified that he was “praising, not endorsing” DeSantis — too late. Trump’s fanatical army had the line they wanted: the old rotten establishment want Trump out and DeSantis in. “Generational change” actually means the elite taking the party back to the pre-Trump era of politics-as-normal. No chance.
How will DeSantis cope with the barrage of abuse he’s about to receive? He may be punchier than “please clap” Jeb, but he appears to suffer from a similar inability to exude charisma. He is just under six foot and has been mocked for wearing cowboy heels to make himself appear taller. “Tiny D” is reportedly one of the nicknames Trump has been “workshopping” — whatever that means — along with “Ron DisHonest” and “Ron DeEstablishment.” He tried “Ron DeSanctimonious,” but keen students of Trump’s nominative determinism considered that diss sub-par. Still, you get the gist. Don makes people laugh; Ron, not so much. Some sources suggest he has a touch of Asperger’s.
“DeSantis is an introvert in an extrovert’s world” is how Roger Stone, the Trump ally who knows Floridian politics inside out, puts it. “He gets irritated whenever faced with a difficult question or situation.” “He’s good company,” adds Nigel Farage, another Trump confidant. “But you know when Donald Trump walks into a room. I’m not sure the same could be said of DeSantis.”
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Author: Ruth King
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