It might very well be strategic.
Donald Trump is currently very mad that Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis stole what he understood to be his own schtick of using vulnerable people as political pawns. Ever since DeSantis’ grossly shameful stunt — when his office tricked migrants into flying out of Texas with the promise of jobs and shelter, only to dump them in Martha’s Vineyard with neither — details about Trump’s irritation with the Florida Republican have been making headlines.
Jared Kushner went on TV after reports of the migrant plot surfaced and cartoonishly suggested that Team Trump would’ve taken the higher road if presented with the ordeal: “We have to remember that these are human beings,” he intoned. Yet Rolling Stone reported that Trump was privately annoyed that DeSantis was getting more media attention than him and reportedly told people close to him that DeSantis was only doing the cruel experiment to get ahead in the 2024 polls (which DeSantis currently is in Florida).
Reports about a toxic rift between the two have only swelled since. Over the weekend, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman shared some details with The Atlantic about on-the-record interviews she conducted with Trump for her forthcoming book, “Confidence Man: The Make of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” During those interviews, Trump reportedly took credit for DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial win and, as recently as this summer, the former president called the Florida governor “fat,” “phony,” and “whiny. “
More details of Trump’s supposed irritation with DeSantis were tucked into a CNN story today focused on the ways in which the two’s political superstar status is splitting the Republican Party and the conservative movement in general:
Trump has privately griped to aides that he made the Florida governor a star when he endorsed his gubernatorial bid in 2018, and regularly sends out statements through his leadership PAC seeking to flaunt his strength against DeSantis in a hypothetical matchup. One adviser to the former President said Trump is “clearly feeling threatened.”
While he may be annoyed about sharing headlines with DeSantis post-migrant stunt, Trump will also have bigger concerns as the two continue barreling toward 2024: DeSantis is currently out-fundraising Trump among MAGA supporters, beating the former president at his own movement’s best game.
DeSantis is seemingly not taking all the leaked digs lying down.
“He calls him a TV personality and a moron who has no business running for president,” a former DeSantis staffer told Vanity Fair.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
New from Sarah Posner in TPM Cafe: The Key Ingredients Of Christian Nationalism
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Meadows Was Kept Updated On Plot To Seize Voting Machines, Texts Show — Cristina Cabrera
What We Are Reading
How Kevin McCarthy’s political machine worked to sway the GOP field — Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Isaac Arnsdorf and Marianna Sotomayor
Maricopa County Attorney says she won’t prosecute women who seek abortion — Peter Valencia, AZFamily Digital News Staff and The Associated Press