Ron DeSantis has found The Donald's kryptonite: Ignore him
In a classic scene from “Mad Men,” young copywriter Michael Ginsberg tries to shame ad exec Don Draper. As the two stand alone in the elevator, Ginsburg contemptuously says, "I feel bad for you."
Draper quietly responds, "I don't think about you at all."
That sums up the battle between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.
Ever since the Florida governor won reelection by 19 points, creating buzz for a potential presidential run, Trump has devoted every waking moment to attacking his fellow Floridian.
Much to The Donald’s surprise, DeSantis hasn’t risen to the bait, focusing instead on racking up conservative victories in his home state.
You can call Trump every name in the book, but ignore him? That’s something he just can’t handle.
Trump getting more and more unhinged in his rants
In reaction, every Trump statement released or post on Truth Social grows more unhinged. I mean, more unhinged than usual. They make the former president’s late-night tweets look downright civil.
As a sample, here’s an excerpt from a Trump rant on Wednesday.
"Florida has been successful for many years, long before I put Ron there — It’s amazing what Ocean and Sunshine will do!” Trump hollered. “Surprise, Ron was a big Lockdown Governor on the China Virus, sealing all beaches and everything else for an extended period of time, was Third Worst in the Nation for COVID-19 Deaths (losing 86,294 People), Third Worst for Total Number of Cases, at 7,516,906.”
It just goes on and on. He should start a Substack.
“Other Republican Governors did MUCH BETTER than Ron and, because I allowed them this 'freedom,' never closed their States," Trump continued. "Remember, I left that decision up to the Governors! For COVID Death Rates Per State, Ron, as Governor of Florida, did worse than New York."
Former president exhausting everyone but himself
That’s just the COVID-19 section; I left out his screeds on education, affordability, rape, public relations … you name it.
“HARDLY GREATNESS THERE!" Trump concludes, in all-caps, of course.
I’m exhausted just reading it; imagine how his staff feels.
Team MAGA’s last complaint was that DeSantis didn’t defend the ex-president when he pushed a rumor that he was going to be indicted last Tuesday.
DeSantis plays it perfect in response to indictment question
Unsurprisingly, the rumor proved false, but the governor should have protected the angry old guy who’s been attacking him for months.
A reporter asked DeSantis about the matter so he had to respond.
DeSantis criticized the questionable case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, calling it “an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office.”
Then he added, “Look, I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair, I just — I can’t speak to that.”
Well, that last bit drove Trump even more crazy, posting on Truth Social that the governor could be “unfairly and illegally attacked by a woman (or possibly a man!) with false accusations.”
Trump the front-runner is behaving like he's already lost
Stay classy, Mar-a-Lago.
All this has to make DeSantis chuckle, which he did in an interview with Piers Morgan.
When Morgan asked if “Ron DeSanctimonious” was his favorite Trump-endorsed nickname, the governor laughed that “I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it, it’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels.”
He then pivoted back to the work he’s doing in Florida. Message discipline is helpful in a national campaign. It’s nice for the GOP to have a candidate familiar with it.
Trump might be leading in the early polls, but he’s acting like he’s already lost.
That’s why he’s workshopping dumb nicknames and all-caps-ing on Truth Social into the wee hours.
The shtick worked in 2016, but will it work eight years later? To many Republicans, Trump feels like yesterday’s news.
Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. On Twitter: @exjon.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Ron DeSantis is driving Trump nuts with the unbearable: Ignoring him