Fragmentation in Trump’s Base: The Ron DeSantis Dilemma

Betrayal Lingers as Former President Ponders DeSantis’ 2024 Ambitions

Waco, Texas: Rally of Mixed Opinions

The sun blazed over the regional airport tarmac as Trump supporters gathered, including Tammy Condra, a 56-year-old self-styled “stay-at-home goddess” from Fredericksburg. She fervently declared, “DeSantis will never win. DeSantis is a loser. He is deep state.”

Loyalists’ Quest: Trump’s Return to the White House

Condra, like others at the rally, longs for Trump’s reclamation of the presidency. However, sentiments regarding Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his potential 2024 Republican nomination bid were far from consistent among Trump’s base.

Trump’s Private Criticisms: A Calculated Strategy?

Trump’s most scathing critiques of DeSantis were reserved for private settings, hinting at a complex political landscape. Onstage, Trump lamented DeSantis’ past support for Medicare and Social Security cuts, Florida’s COVID-19 death rate, and his overblown success claims as governor.

“Florida has been tremendously successful for many years, long before this guy became governor,” Trump asserted.

Post-Rally Revelations: Trump’s Scorn Intensifies

Aboard his jet, Trump’s disdain for DeSantis turned personal as he spoke to a few reporters. He claimed DeSantis had “no personality” and speculated that, without Trump’s endorsement, DeSantis might have been working in a cigar shop.

The GOP’s Future: DeSantis as the Next Torchbearer?

Despite Trump’s attacks, interviews with rally attendees revealed a surprising undercurrent: many view DeSantis as the GOP’s next great hope, even if a campaign against Trump seems far-fetched.

Mike McCown, a home-loan originator from Grand Prairie, shared his optimism, saying, “DeSantis in the future? 100%.” He added that DeSantis’ time would come in five years, acknowledging that he would vote for him if he secured the nomination, though he doubted DeSantis would win against Trump.

Ron Kearney, residing about 100 miles west of Waco, expressed his current allegiance to Trump but indicated a willingness to consider DeSantis in the future.