The growing rivalry between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis is causing a split in the Republican Party, causing some to wonder if Trump still has the star power to go up against DeSantis' growing popularity.
“I’ve heard people say that Trump was John the Baptist paving the way for Jesus,” a senior official at a prominent conservative organization told CNN's Gabby Orr. “I’ve also heard concerns that DeSantis is a really smart operator who read the tea leaves and slid into this position at the right time, so he can’t necessarily be trusted.”
Orr points out that Trump has gripes to aides that he's the one who made DeSantis a star when he endorsed his gubernatorial campaign in 2018. One adviser to Trump said he is “clearly feeling threatened.”
Speaking to CNN, some conservatives say they are troubled by DeSantis being presented as the alternative to Trump.
“It is precisely because we think the institutional Republican party and mainstream conservative movement has failed the U.S. and working-class people that we want someone to continue to rankle them,” said Sohrab Ahmari of the online magazine Compact, claiming that conservatives “still don’t know a lot about [DeSantis] since he’s been a governor, not a national politician.”
A former Trump campaign aide who requested anonymity also expressed concern about DeSantis.
“Is it acceptable to start weighing our options if Trump doesn’t run? Totally. Maybe he runs but he’s been indicted and no longer seems electable. That’s another fair question to consider. But I think it’s a mistake to view Ron DeSantis as heir apparent just because he’s having a moment right now,” said the former aide, speaking hypothetically about the legal woes around Trump, who has not been charged with a crime."
Read the full report over at CNN.