DeSantis has rendered himself a 'Mar-a-Lago beta' with efforts to defend Trump in latest scandal: columnist
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visits 2019 Miami Open at the Hard Rock Stadium in 2019. (Leonard Zhukovsky /

While it was once believed that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would challenge former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, Atlantic columnist David Frum argues that he's now put his ambitions in the back seat while Trump tries to mount a 2024 comeback.

Writing on Twitter, Frum laments that the GOP stood in lockstep defense behind Trump after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago last week to retrieve top secret government documents that Trump had retained even after being served a subpoena demanding their return.

"It's shocking that so many would excuse literally anything to protect Trump," Frum writes. "But they do. DeSantis is accommodating himself to that reality, playing Mar a Lago beta to ingratiate himself with the likely top of the '24 GOP ticket."

Frum then tied this to a broader observation about wishful thinking that Trump and his anti-democracy movement would simply fade into the background after he lost the White House in 2020 to President Joe Biden.

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"Those who would defend US democracy should be as realistic as DeSantis," Frum concluded. "Trump's base is not reforming. That base's control of the wider GOP coalition is not weakening. US democracy is not recovering. The dangers ahead are not diminishing."