In a recent interview with the Financial Times, hotel magnate Robert Bigelow, who is the largest individual donor to a super PAC supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential bid, hinted at potentially switching his support to former President Donald Trump. Bigelow stated that he believes Trump would be the strongest commander with the most experience, describing him as someone who would be a “hell of an ass kicker” if needed. While Bigelow acknowledges that DeSantis is a strong candidate, he believes that Trump has the momentum and inertia to beat him.
Bigelow’s comments have sparked speculation about the future of DeSantis’ campaign and the direction of the Republican Party. As the leading donor to DeSantis’ campaign, Bigelow’s potential shift in support could have significant consequences for the governor’s presidential aspirations. It also highlights the enduring influence of Trump within the GOP and the challenges other candidates face in trying to gain ground against him.
Bigelow’s criticism of DeSantis stems from his belief that the governor lacks the strength and momentum to compete with Trump. He refers to DeSantis as “Meatball Ron” and suggests that Trump is too strong for him to bring down. According to Bigelow, Trump is a “bull,” while DeSantis is merely “dinner.”
One of Bigelow’s specific criticisms of DeSantis revolves around the issue of abortion. He cites a Florida bill signed in April that bans abortion past six weeks of pregnancy, arguing that it is a sham and condescending. This position aligns with Trump’s stance on abortion, which has been consistently anti-abortion rights.
The timing of Bigelow’s comments is notable, as they come just before the third GOP presidential debate in Miami. Trump, who is leading in the polls by a wide margin, has chosen not to attend the debate. This decision has sparked speculation about his intentions and whether he intends to announce his candidacy for the 2024 election. The absence of Trump at the debate provides an opportunity for other candidates, including DeSantis, to gain ground and make their case to voters.
Bigelow’s criticism of Trump also extends beyond policy differences. He expresses disappointment with Trump’s lack of communication, stating that Trump did not bother to call him for an explanation. This has led Bigelow to believe that Trump is more of a user of people and that he did not matter enough for Trump to pick up the phone.
Overall, Bigelow’s potential shift in support from DeSantis to Trump highlights the ongoing power struggle within the Republican Party. It underscores the enduring influence of Trump and the challenges that other candidates face in trying to establish themselves as strong contenders. As the 2024 election approaches, it will be interesting to see how these dynamics play out and whether DeSantis can overcome the perceived strength and momentum of Trump’s candidacy.
0. “Ron DeSantis’ biggest donor considers abandoning him for Trump” POLITICO, 8 Nov. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/11/08/desantis-trump-2024-00126054
1. “Girl, bye! Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis’ biggest donor ditches him just ahead of tonight’s debate” Queerty, 8 Nov. 2023, https://www.queerty.com/girl-bye-ron-dont-say-gay-desantis-biggest-donor-ditches-him-just-ahead-of-tonights-debate-20231108
2. “Ron DeSantis Handed Sobering News Hours Before Debate” Newsweek, 8 Nov. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/ron-desantis-may-lose-biggest-donor-1842002
3. “Largest donor to DeSantis presidential bid considering switch to Trump” The Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/11/08/desantis-largest-donor-trump/