Swamp Monsters: Trump vs. DeSantis―the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)

Swamp Monsters: Trump vs. DeSantis―the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)

The Wild Inside Story of the Trump-DeSantis Rivalry and its Impact on Florida Politics

In the realm of political rivalries, few have been as captivating and consequential as the ongoing battle between former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. What began as a mutually beneficial alliance has evolved into a high-stakes power struggle, with Florida serving as the battleground for their clash. In this article, we delve into the intricate dynamics of the Trump-DeSantis rivalry, exploring the events, personalities, and motivations that have turned Florida into the crucible of the new GOP.

The Snub and the Competing Rallies

November 2022 marked a pivotal moment in the Trump-DeSantis saga. As Trump planned a high-profile event in Florida, tensions simmered as DeSantis was not officially invited. While the Trump camp maintained that DeSantis was not explicitly excluded, the perceived snub ignited speculation and fueled rumors of a growing rift between the two political heavyweights. Adding fuel to the fire, DeSantis decided to hold his own set of competing rallies on the same day, setting the stage for a showdown that would test their relationship and shape the future of Florida politics.

Advisers Urge Restraint

As Trump’s speaking slot at the event approached, his advisers cautioned against using the platform to attack DeSantis for a second consecutive night. They feared that such a move would not only strain the relationship between Trump and DeSantis but also put other prominent Florida Republicans in an awkward position. Joe Gruters, a state senator and chairman of the statewide Republican Party, had chosen to attend Trump’s rally over DeSantis’s, highlighting the divided loyalties within the party. Rick Scott, another prominent Republican, also favored Trump over DeSantis. Advisers argued that escalating the feud would only serve to overshadow other speakers and potentially alienate key allies.

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Roger Stone’s Unexpected Role

Amidst the internal debate, Trump’s advisers turned to Roger Stone, a veteran political strategist and longtime confidant of the former president. Surprisingly, Stone advised Trump against attacking DeSantis onstage, urging him to exercise restraint. Despite Stone’s well-known animosity towards DeSantis, his love for Trump ultimately prevailed, and he played the role of the voice of reason in this instance. Stone’s influence, however, would prove to be short-lived as the Trump-DeSantis rivalry continued to intensify.

Stone’s Continued Opposition to DeSantis

Stone’s dislike for DeSantis predated the public feud between the governor and Trump. During the 2018 gubernatorial primary, Stone’s protégé, Everett Wilkinson, ran attack ads against DeSantis, branding him a “swamp creature” and attempting to portray him as a political insider. Stone’s association with U.S. Sugar, a powerful political player that clashed with DeSantis, further fueled his animosity towards the governor. Stone’s opposition to DeSantis persisted even after the 2022 midterms, as he contemplated potential attack strategies if DeSantis were to run for president.

The Battle for the Heart of the Republican Party

The Trump-DeSantis rivalry has far-reaching implications for the future of the Republican Party. With Trump’s continued influence and a large segment of the Republican base still firmly in his camp, the 2024 Republican primary is shaping up to be a two-person race between Trump and DeSantis. As the battle for the heart of the party unfolds, issues like foreign policy, particularly Ukraine, become flashpoints for potential attacks. Stone’s hypothetical messaging against DeSantis highlights the emerging fault lines within the GOP and the challenges faced by both candidates as they seek to secure their position as the party’s standard-bearer.

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Conclusion:

The Trump-DeSantis rivalry has transformed Florida into a political battleground, captivating the nation with its twists and turns. As the two powerhouses vie for supremacy within the Republican Party, their actions have far-reaching consequences for the future of conservative politics. Whether it’s the snubs, competing rallies, or the influence of advisers like Roger Stone, the Trump-DeSantis saga continues to captivate and shape the political landscape of Florida and beyond. Only time will tell who will emerge victorious in this epic clash of political titans.