Any hope that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) might have that prominent "Never-Trumpers" will flock to his side after he formally announces his bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination may have to be put on hold, reports the Miami Herald.
In interviews with conservative critics of Donald Trump who have been waving red flags about a possible second term for the scandal-plagued former president, there isn't tremendous enthisiasm for the Florida governor even as a second choice.
As the Herald's Alex Roarty wrote, "As DeSantis prepares to enter the presidential race this week, a small but influential contingent of Republicans is grappling with a strategic dilemma, stuck choosing between a candidate in Trump many of them consider a clear and present danger to the republic and an alternative in DeSantis they worry would solidify — possibly even intensify — the GOP’s turn to anti-democratic demagoguery."
One former GOP lawmaker suggested DeSantis could get some support because some conservative anti-Trumpers would be placed in a corner.
"I don’t want Donald Trump to be the nominee because I do consider him an existential threat,” said ex-Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) “I think most Never Trumpers would probably support DeSantis, even those who don’t like him and have reservations.”
Attorney Ron Filipkowski, a frequent Trump critic on Twitter, concurred, stating, "I think DeSantis is just an ass and extreme right-winger who likes to play to the mob a little too much. But I don’t think DeSantis is going to pull us out of NATO or fire half the civil service."
Conservative pollster Sarah Longwell, said of the Florida governor, "I think that inside of Ron DeSantis, there’s a bit of a secret normie. He’s a bit of a monster, he’s basically changed all his positions to chase the Republican Party."
Former GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL) claimed DeSantis is losing support from some Florida Republicans, telling the Herald, "This whole battle with Disney, at first, a lot of conservatives rallied behind it. Now it’s just getting weird.”
The Herald's Roarty added, "Never-Trump Republicans warn that even if many of them back DeSantis over Trump, their group is far from monolithic in its views — some of them maintain that they think DeSantis represents such a danger in his own right that he’s not worth supporting under any circumstances."
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