With Ron DeSantis possibly poised to replace Donald Trump as the dominant force in the Republican Party, the liberal media have begun training their sights on the Florida governor in order to keep their longtime obsession and gravy train of Trump doom and gloom alive (along with money in their pocketbooks).
After we noted Thursday that CNN's Don Lemon argued DeSantis could be even worse than Trump, the DeSantis smears shifted Friday to MSNBC’s Morning Joe thanks to Republican-turned-Never Trump-turned liberal David Jolly, who trashed DeSantis as having “used" Trump with a fragile ego.
“Ron DeSantis is -- famously has a very glass jaw, fragile ego. You -- you get him on the ropes, and you start to see a Ron DeSantis that is not the manufactured package you see today. How will Ron DeSantis respond,” sneered Jolly who, like co-host Joe Scarborough (who missed the show) is likely jealous of fellow Florida politicians whom voters actually like.
The Atlantic is also desperate to keep Trump around and, as part of that, attempting to put its finger on the scales by preferring Trump prevails. As part of that, they trotted out Peter Wehner on Morning Joe to suggest not only is the GOP was already too “radicalized” for those outside the party base, but DeSantis isn't that impressive: “[H]e may not be as impressive in reality as he is on paper. I mean, very few people have seen DeSantis for -- for any length of time. And when Trump unleashes his blow torch, we'll see how he holds up.”
When Jolly resurfaced in a subsequent segment, he poured cold water on the notion that it will be easy for the GOP to switch to DeSantis. When co-host Mika Brzezinski asked him whether Republicans might see DeSantis as a “getaway car” to escape from Trump, Jolly replied: “The stench and stain of Trumpism lives with these Republicans. It's not as easy as just saying I took a shower and it's gone.”
The New York Times Magazine’s Robert Draper underlined this coordinated push for Trump and against DeSantis, telling Politico’s Eugene Daniels that the 2024 GOP race was all but over: “No, I don't see anyone who’s stepping forward...[I]t remains to be seen whether DeSantis himself will stand up to Trump, but, no, I don't see any other candidate who — of any — of any significance, that is, who would be willing to go toe to toe with Trump.”
On another note: is Willie Geist, who traditionally has been Morning Joe's more temperate voice, adopting a harder liberal edge? On Wednesday, we noted him taking Morning Joe's toughest shot at Trump, saying “[I]t would appear this morning, this is Ron DeSantis's party and not Donald Trump's.”
This morning, Willie spoke of Trump's “baseless claims,” “unhinged rant,” and a “rambling statement” so bad that it merited a “family intervention.”
Exit question: Is Willie out to prove his liberal chops to the audience and the MSNBC suits?
Morning Joe disparaging Ron DeSantis in order to promote their favorite obsession in Donald Trump was sponsored in part by GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Nucala), Abbott (maker of Rinvoq), and Jeep. Their contact information is linked.
Here's the transcript. Click “expand” to read.
MSNBC's Morning Joe
6:09 am ET
WILLIE GEIST: To go along with his unhinged rant yesterday about elections, Donald Trump also went on one against Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis. In a rambling statement yesterday, Trump wrote in part, “NewsCorp, which is Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and the no longer great New York Post --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Okay.
BRZEZINSKI: -- is all in for Governor Ron DeSanctimonious.”
BRZEZINSKI: Is the New York Post no longer great because they called him something like Humpty Dumpty?
GEIST: That's correct. Humpty Dumpty
BRZEZINSKI: And he was on the cover as Trumpty Dumpty.
GEIST: Yes. He called DeSantis “an AVERAGE Republican governor with great public relations.” Trump attributed some of DeSantis' success to the weather in Florida, writing, he “has the advantage of SUNSHINE” -- oof -- “where people from badly-run States up North would go no matter who the Governor was, just like I did!” The former President went on to claim his endorsement of DeSantis helped win the Florida governor's race in 2018. Trump also accused DeSantis of, “playing games” by not answering questions about 2024. He wrote, “the Fake News asks him if he's going to run if President Trump runs, and he says ‘I'm only focused on the governor's race. I'm not looking into the future.’” Trump wrote, “well, in terms of loyalty and class, that really is not the right answer.” Despite the growing calls from within the Republican Party to break with Donald Trump, the former President is moving ahead with what he calls a special announcement next week. Trump's team sent an invite to the press yesterday, teasing the event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is widely expected to announce another presidential run. David Jolly, that statement, we spared the viewers most of it, is family-intervention stuff.
BRZEZINSKI: Oh my Lord!
GEIST: Dad --Dad is not doing well, let's all rush in to sit with him.
DAVID JOLLY: Right.
GEIST: But my gosh, does Ron DeSantis, has he set up shop in Donald Trump's head?
JOLLY: Yes, he has. Now look, there -- there's actually one truth in Donald Trump's statement, and that is that Ron DeSantis owes his political career to the former President, without question. There's nobody in America that more deftly and successfully used Donald Trump.
JOLLY: And I say used. Right? He was the ambassador of Trumpism when he was in the House. He then uses Trump to get to the governor's mansion, And then he steps aside from Trump, and he gets adjacent to Trump.
JOLLY: He doesn't defend him, but he also doesn't criticize him. And the one -- the one component that this story is current missing --
JOLLY: -- is Ron Desantis has never taken the bait. I mean, I think a lot of people are waiting to hear, what is the posture of Ron DeSantis in this moment? Does he just say nice things about the President and move on? Because right now, look, he's got the hot hand. He doesn't need to engage in the scrum. Ron DeSantis is -- famously has a very glass jaw, fragile ego. You -- you get him on the ropes, and you start to see a Ron DeSantis that is not the manufactured package you see today. How will Ron DeSantis respond?
6:17 a.m. Eastern
PETER WEHNER: You know, DeSantis is, on paper, a good candidate. And there's no question that there's been some erosion in Trump's support, but he started at a very, very high mark. And these MAGA voters are not like traditional Republican or Democratic voters. There's almost no loyalty to the institution, political institution, whether it's the Democratic or Republican Party. They -- they got into the politics because of Donald Trump, and they would follow him to the ends of the earth. And the last thing I'll say is, DeSantis, as I think David Jolly had referred to, he may not be as impressive in reality as he is on paper. I mean, very few people have seen DeSantis for -- for any length of time. And when Trump unleashes his blow torch, we'll see how he holds up.
6:42 a.m. Eastern
BRZEZINSKI: Arizona's Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, in an interview yesterday, seeming to connect Ron DeSantis with unfounded claims of election fraud. What's going on? Am I right, or is there something else going on here, David Jolly?
JOLLY: Welcome to Republicans in disarray.
JOLLY: This goes to the premise of the earlier conversation, this -- this notion that they're going to quickly get past Donald Trump, or this rapid coronation of Ron DeSantis --
JOLLY: -- is not happening. And here's why. In the last 72 hours, Kari Lake has thrown her loyalty to Donald Trump. Matt Gaetz has said, Donald Trump's the next president. Elise Stefanik, who actually holds a leadership position in the House, has said, I'm endorsing Donald Trump. Start to ask Rick Scott and other senators who will be in the '24 re-elect cycle, are you supporting Donald Trump or not? And the problem is, look, some of them will do it out of fealty and loyalty and craziness -- that's the Kari Lake play. But the others, like Rick Scott, will do it because they have to.
BRZEZINSKI: Don't you think some will see, wow, this is our -- this is our getaway car? Like, I don't have to do this anymore.
JOLLY: Look, the stench and stain of Trumpism lives with these Republicans. It's not as easy as just saying I took a shower and it's gone.
7:15 a.m. Eastern
EUGENE DANIELS: Robert, when you’re curious, when you think about, and as you have been talking to a lot of these Republicans as — as things have been shaking out, are they feeling like there is, outside of DeSantis, other people who would be willing to take on Donald Trump? We have Nikki Haley, for example, was someone who said she’d only run if Donald Trump did not run. Or are people backing out of that because they see how weak he looked on Tuesday?
ROBERT DRAPER: No, I don't see anyone who’s stepping forward, Eugene. And frankly, you know, DeSantis, though there’s been a lot of, you know, kabuki going on, it's not as if DeSantis has said, you know, I don't care whether Trump is throwing his hat in the ring or not, I'm there. I mean, it remains to be seen whether DeSantis himself will stand up to Trump, but, no, I don't see any other candidate who — of any — of any significance, that is, who would be willing to go toe to toe with Trump.