Anti-Trump conservative Matt Lewis is growing frustrated by what he sees as timidity among former President Donald Trump's prospective rivals to go after him in an aggressive manner.
Writing in The Daily Beast, Lewis argues that Trump rivals such as former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis need to "attack Trump, keep attacking Trump, bloody his nose, and then survive the counterpunch" to have any chance of preventing him from being the party's nominee in 2024.
Lewis believes that DeSantis's best path to attack Trump is, paradoxically, in one of his administration's biggest achievements: The funding for rapid development of vaccines against the novel coronavirus.
"In a rational world, Operation Warp Speed would be something worth bragging about," he argues. "But the Republican primary electorate isn’t a rational world. As such, greenlighting the COVID-19 vaccine is potentially a serious vulnerability for Trump in a Republican primary. Meanwhile, DeSantis—who wants to empanel a grand jury to look into COVID-19 wrongdoing—is positioned to lodge such an attack. But will he?"
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Lewis thinks Haley's path is much more difficult given that she served in the Trump administration and she is on record heaping praise on Trump on multiple occasions.
Regardless, he worries that Republicans running in 2024 "might make the same flawed calculation that Ted Cruz and others made in 2016: that Trump will fade on his own, and then you can inherit his supporters"
"We all know how that worked out," he notes. "Trump is weakened now, but he won’t go down without a fight."