The ex-president throws blows even in his shadow because he sees threats in the Republican Party and two contenders for the presidency: Ron DeSantis and Mike Pence.
He is still the darling of the Republican 2024’s hard-fought vote on the street, but he is no longer the party’s absolute owner.
And just by a hard vote, it’s not enough to go to the White House.
The most open challenge comes from two of his former lieutenants, loyal and devoted. One disagreed with Trump on core issues, and the other Pence has aspirations: former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Pence’s audacity is commendable, because on January 6, 2021, he put the nation above the illegitimate ambitions of his president, and refused to create an institutional crisis in the United States, by accepting the victory of Joe Biden.
At the weekend, Pence went to Georgia to campaign for the re-election of Governor Brian Kemp, who is running in the primaries against Trump’s candidate, David Perdue.
There is a sea in the background. If the former president holds a grudge against anyone in his party more than a penny, it is against the governor of Georgia.
Kemp made two rejections that Trump took as a personal insult: He refused to promote the cancellation of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, and the then-president did not grant 11,000 fraudulent votes her request to claim a victory over Biden in that state. .
Pence went to Georgia to challenge Trump.
The former Vice President stated in a statement, “Brian Kemp is my friend, a loyal man to the faith, family, and people of Georgia. I am proud to offer you my full support for another four years as Governor of the great state of Georgia!”
When Trump praised Putin for invading Ukraine, Mike Pence claimed that “there is no room in the Republican Party for Putin’s apologetics.”
The other Mike in Trump’s inner circle, Pompeo, the former Secretary of State, along with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, are campaigning in Pennsylvania for David McCornick to defeat Trump’s Senate candidate, Mehmet Oz, in tomorrow’s primary.
A few days ago, in the Nebraska Republican primary, the candidate that Trump endorsed for governor lost.
The Republican Governors Assembly has endorsed Governor Brad Little’s re-election in Idaho against Janice McGeechen, the standard-bearer of the former president.
Trump was furious and doubled down on his accusations against colleagues he had appointed as part of the RINO (Republicans in Name Only).
The holes in Trump’s leadership are just cracks. He’s still the leader, but Republicans already have signs that he’s unbeatable and the presidential run is not guaranteed.
But the one who will reap a setback from the former president will not be Pence or Pompeo, let alone Ted Cruz, but the rising star of the Republican Party, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Without Trump in the Republican internal race, DeSantis has 54 percent of the preference versus 34 percent of former Vice President Pence.
He’s a guy to watch, because he’s going to go far. Young, more conservative than Trump, but educated, well-mannered, unoffending and has arguments to argue.
DeSantis gets into every discussion on tough topics. Abortion is prohibited when the fetus is more than 15 weeks old.
He promoted the education bill dubbed “Don’t Say Gay,” which would remove from all educational programs, up to third grade, any topic related to gender and gender identity.
He’s got a heavy hand: Born out of it was the Florida Congress’ repeal to remove Disney from the special statute that (expiring in July) would allow it to be a sort of independent municipality, with some tax advantages.
He pulled them off in retaliation for Disney (the parent company, not its Orlando director) which had criticized the “Don’t Say Gay” law and cut Republican campaign funding in Florida. (Disney-Orlando is the state’s largest employer, hosting 50 million visitors each year, and paying $5 billion in state taxes.)
DeSantis, who has his tea party political background, is a popular governor. Florida has not closed in the pandemic. He stood up to Fauci’s policies. He doesn’t share the anti-immigrant rage like Trump has, and he hasn’t criticized free trade.
Nor does he face Trump. It is a version of the “New Republican Party”, which was formed with the rupture that meant the arrival of the eccentric and anti-Mexico businessman to the presidency of the United States.
In the Republican circus, dwarves begin to grow.
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