Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Declares 2024 Presidential Candidacy Amid Technical Difficulties and Controversy over Abortion and Trump Criticism

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election.[0] However, DeSantis’ campaign launch on Twitter Spaces was marred by technical difficulties, leading to criticism from former President Donald Trump, who views DeSantis as disloyal and has escalated his attacks on the Florida governor in recent months.[1] During his campaign launch, DeSantis took subtle shots at Trump, expressing frustration with the former president’s inability to enact his agenda and criticizing the “culture of losing” in the GOP.[2] However, DeSantis later ramped up his attacks, honing in on Trump’s COVID-19 response.[2] In a recent interview with Glenn Beck, DeSantis accused Trump of having “destroyed millions of people’s lives” during the pandemic by “turning the country over to Fauci.”[0] DeSantis has been accusing Trump of mishandling COVID-19, but Trump has fired back by alleging that the Florida governor was the one who actually implemented a shutdown of the state during the pandemic.[3]

DeSantis’ campaign has also sparked controversy over the issue of abortion. His campaign pollster, Ryan Tyson, stated that if voters in 2024 are choosing between a young candidate like DeSantis and an octogenarian, and if they are voting on the issue of abortion as one of the top two issues, our data suggests that person has a very high correlation with typical Democrat voting behavior.[4] Tyson articulated the governor’s position, saying that “while there are ways the federal government can preserve life, the best way to preserve abortion is at the state level.”[5] DeSantis himself laughed off a nickname given to him by Trump, “DeSanctimonious,” saying he didn’t know what it meant but liked it.

DeSantis’ candidacy poses a challenge to Trump’s dominance in the Republican Party. Polling indicates that DeSantis is Trump’s most dangerous rival for the 2024 Republican nomination, although the ex-president has built up a strong lead over the past few months. However, DeSantis’ campaign launch was a rocky start, and his attacks on Trump may alienate some Republican voters who remain loyal to the former president. Trump has already released an attack ad knocking DeSantis as an off-brand imitator of his own style and policies.[1] The Florida governor isn’t doing much to dispel the notion, as he said on “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” that he would consider pardoning Jan. 6 defendants.[1] Trump may indeed need a pardon himself, as he is already facing criminal charges in New York related to his 2016 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and could face further federal charges related to a probe into the Mar-a-Lago classified documents scandal.[6]

0. “DeSantis torches Trump over COVID lockdowns: ‘He turned the country over to Fauci'” Fox News, 26 May. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-torches-trump-covid-lockdowns-turned-country-fauci

1. “DeSantis Attacks Trump: He ‘Destroyed Millions of Lives’” Yahoo! Voices, 25 May. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/news/desantis-attacks-trump-destroyed-millions-195647723.html

2. “DeSantis reveals his attacks against Trump | Nation | griffonnews.com” Griffon News, 29 May. 2023, https://www.griffonnews.com/news/nation/desantis-reveals-his-attacks-against-trump/article_9addec04-fa81-529b-9464-8692d379845b.html

3. “Ron Desantis Attacks Donald Trump: ‘Destroyed Millions Of Lives’ During COVID-19 When He Turned ‘The Country …” msnNOW, 26 May. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/ron-desantis-attacks-donald-trump-destroyed-millions-of-lives-during-covid-19-when-he-turned-the-country-over-to-fauci/ar-AA1bHVGG

4. “DeSantis supporters express worry about abortion in leaked audio” MSNBC, 31 May. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/the-reidout/reidout-blog/desantis-abortion-leaked-recording-donors-rcna86933

5. “Exclusive: Donors fret whether Ron DeSantis abortion ban will turn off pro-choice backers” Florida Politics, 27 May. 2023, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/615076-exclusive-donors-fret-whether-ron-desantis-abortion-ban-will-turn-off-pro-choice-backers/

6. “DeSantis Attacks Trump: He ‘Destroyed Millions of Lives’” Rolling Stone, 25 May. 2023, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/desantis-attacks-trump-covid-19-response-1234742399/

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