According to reports, former President Donald Trump intends to ostracize individuals who work for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in an effort to deter the governor from pursuing a presidential bid.
The exclusion list, initially disclosed by the right-leaning publication RealClearPolitics, will encompass anyone involved in promoting the governor’s recent #1 bestselling book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” or assisting in a potential DeSantis presidential campaign.
“A moment of decision,” a source close to Trump informed the publication. “If you’re part of Ron DeSantis’ presidential bid, you won’t be involved in the Trump campaign or the Trump White House.”
If Trump were to regain the presidency, he would hold substantial influence over the national Republican Party and could attempt to enforce the same exclusion list there.
An anonymous prominent conservative grassroots organizer cautioned against Trump’s “loyalty test,” stating, “The American people will ultimately choose the next president, and many grassroots supporters see past these desperate calls for allegiance, wishing instead for a meaningful discussion about our nation’s future.”
The report also quoted a former senior administration official who expressed skepticism about the seriousness of the threat: “I don’t believe, knowing him, that it’s a genuine claim.”
“This is just an attempt to stifle the momentum DeSantis has gained – it doesn’t align with his previous actions,” the official elaborated.
This development follows Trump’s criticism of DeSantis at a campaign rally in Texas over the weekend.
A video clip highlighted by Mediaite showed the audience’s lukewarm response to the former president’s attacks, with the crowd falling mostly silent. “Compared to the usual response to Trump’s remarks, the reaction to his ridicule of DeSantis was practically non-existent,” the report observed.
Trump targeted DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic, claimed he was “ineffective” on crime, and taunted him with nicknames. Interestingly, an analysis from Fox News this week revealed that Trump criticizes DeSantis four times more often than President Joe Biden.
Regarding DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign, Trump claimed, “When a man approaches me with tears in his eyes, barely registering in the polls, he has almost nothing, and no funds.”
“And I said, I can’t support you. There’s no way you can succeed when you’re at the bottom,” Trump alleged. “I said, let’s take a chance, Ron. I endorsed him. He soared like a rocket. The race was over within a day.”
Trump’s guests at the rally, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Mike Lindell, also criticized DeSantis.
Lindell referred to DeSantis as “Trojan horse Ron DeSantis,” suggesting that “the best thing he can do is endorse Donald Trump tomorrow morning.”
Trump attorney Christina Bobb also targeted DeSantis in Waco, warning that “if he actually enters this race, [he] will emerge a battered mess.”