Reporter's Notebook

One Of Trump’s Staunchest Defenders On Russia Is Likely To Be The GOP’s Pick For Florida Governor

August 28, 2018 2:51 pm

Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis has released a campaign ad in which he reads “The Art of the Deal” to his infant and has lashed out at fellow Republicans who criticized Trump’s comments in the “Access Hollywood” tape.

So it’s not exactly surprising that DeSantis — who is expected to win the GOP nomination for governor in Tuesday’s Florida primary — is also one of the president’s fiercest defenders on Russia.

DeSantis has for months led agricultural commissioner Adam Putnam in the polls. Repeated endorsements from Trump likely helped him build and maintain that edge. Given how much the Russia investigations grate on the President, DeSantis’ decision to become Trump’s advanced guard on this issue was strategic gold.

In August 2017, just three months after Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, DeSantis became the first lawmaker to advance a proposal to defund the investigation.

DeSantis also joined his buds in the hardline House Freedom Caucus in legitimizing Trump’s funhouse mirror counter-narrative: Hillary Clinton is actually the one who colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

That fact was proved “without a shadow of a doubt” by Clinton’s campaign providing funding for the Steele dossier, DeSantis said of a document initially commissioned by a conservative publication.

DeSantis also backed a new investigation into Clinton’s alleged role in the Uranium One pseudo-scandal and freaked out at the Justice Department inspector general for producing a report that he deemed insufficiently critical of the Deep Staters tearing down the Trump administration.

He has devoted hours of time to discussing the merits of these activities on Trump’s favorite network: Fox News.

It’s likely this campaign — plus, apparently, DeSantis’ Ivy League pedigree — that helped convince Trump that the congressman is a “true FIGHTER” who will “make a GREAT Governor of Florida.”

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