The conservative media kingmakers are placing their chips on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The feeling that the GOP would fall in behind a more palatable version of their most-recent president has been in the air for quite a while, but it's become explicit in recent days as Donald Trump announced his intention to run for the White House in 2024. For an example, you need look no further than the way the New York Post handled Trump throwing in.
The conservative rag teased Trump's campaign announcement on their front page with the headline "Florida Man Makes Announcement." Readers had to go a full 26 pages into the paper of record for stories on shoplifting and petty crime in cities you don't live in to see what they meant.
How NY Post played Donald Trump’s ‘24 announcement on the cover. pic.twitter.com/XcPGMbDAq4— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) November 16, 2022
Trump announced his candidacy at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, on Tuesday, putting to bed rumors that he'd sit 2024 out (and that he'd launch any potential campaign in Tallahassee as a stick-in-the-eye to Gov. DeSantis).
“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," said Trump. "America's comeback starts right now."
The former president is currently under investigation for his role in a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6 while lawmakers were attempting to certify the election. Trump maintained for months after the presidential election that he lost to Democratic challenger Joe Biden that the votes were unfairly counted or otherwise rigged. He also launched a series of lawsuits in courts across the U.S. to try and overturn election results, almost all of which were immediately tossed. The idea that the 2020 election was stolen remains common among Trump's supporters.
Trump is also under investigation for allegedly taking state documents with him to Mar-a-Lago after being ousted from office. His residence in Palm Beach was raided earlier this year by investigators seeking evidence.
Given that cloud, and the general lack of party influence over Trump's actions, Republicans have seemed eager to find their next star. Many prognosticators seem to think they've found it in Ron DeSantis. Though the Florida governor is an abysmal void of charisma, he can sell many of the GOP's preferred policies without the taint of Trump's presidency.
Trump seems to see DeSantis as his greatest competition. He steered away from attacks in his campaign announcement but spent the days before attacking DeSantis and taking responsibility for the governor's narrow win over Andrew Gillum. He's lashed out against the governor multiple times and turned on billionaire Elon Musk for his professed support of DeSantis.