The DeSantis base in Florida is a microcosm of the wider, deeper, more intense Trump base. The people who love Donald Trump; like DeSantis.



By Roger Stone


There can be no doubt that all the suspense, including the discussion of whether President Donald Trump would be handcuffed and perp-walked in New York in a flawed politically motivated indictment by a County Prosecutor, has both galvanized and increased Trump’s base. Based on polling, Trump is soaring and regaining the support of many MAGA voters who wondered whether he is their strongest candidate for 2024.


We know from history that the American people rally to Trump when they perceive that he is under unfair and partisan attack. Indeed, Trump’s poll standing and fundraising soared in the aftermath of the FBI raid at his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach. Polling suggests that this phenomena is repeating itself, as Trump has sparred with prosecutors at both the State and Federal level. To say that his chief would-be rival Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has handled this badly would be an understatement.


The Governor and his wife really don’t understand that the DeSantis base in Florida is a microcosm of the wider, deeper, more intense Trump base. The people who love Donald Trump; like DeSantis.


Laura Loomer and I have been pummeled online for “dividing the MAGA movement” by correctly predicting that Ron DeSantis—who owes his governorship completely and solely to the endorsement of President Donald J. Trump—has been plotting a presidential bid against his patron. I wrote about it here on Stone Cold Truth previously. You can see that analysis here.




Governor Ron DeSantis had wisely remained tightlipped about the President, refusing to be taunted by Trump’s Truth Social attacks into a response, then broke his silence and made a series of political blunders that left him weakened. Remember again that the DeSantis base is a subset of the Trump base. DeSantis’ initial refusal to get involved, coupled with a recycle of the Democrat talking points about Trump’s problems in New York …”I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair…” To Trump supporters, this is “kicking” the man while he is under attack. Other Republicans were rallying to the President about the outrageousness of the politically motivated hit job being considered by a Manhattan grand jury (which is extraordinarily anti-Trump in its overwhelmingly Democrat makeup, based on the demographics of the jurisdiction from which it was chosen).




Rather than recognize this blunder, DeSantis and his wife decided that he would double down and unleash a flurry of attacks on the besieged but combative Trump. In an interview for television and print with The New York Post, DeSantis attacked both Trump’s “chaotic” leadership style and his moral character.


Strangely, DeSantis did not question Trump’s moral character when Trump single handedly catapulted DeSantis to the Florida Republican gubernatorial nomination, or when Trump dragged DeSantis over the finish line in the 2018 election by changing his own schedule to hold three rallies in Florida in the final two weeks of the campaign. The Congressman’s narrow victory came after two poor showings in debates with Democrat candidate Mayor Andrew Gillum.


Breaking his silence, the Governor made a series of bad moves at the worst possible time. By all measures and polls, Trump’s surge in the polls is impressive—while the DeSantis bungling has caused him to drop.


Trump partisans argue that DeSantis has used his book tour promotion as a soft money funded pre-launch for his presidential bid. How coincidental that he has just announced additional book tour appearances in early primary and caucus states, after visiting Iowa, the state with the first Republican presidential nominating contest.


DeSantis spent heavily to dominate network, cable, digital, and Spanish-language media advertising and ran an aggressive digital campaign for “fundraising” targeting Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Georgia, and in donor-rich parts of New York, Southern California, Texas, as well as having a heavy presence on national conservative net and cable-based media. While this media spending produced a brief surge for DeSantis in the immediate wake of the 2020 election, it appears that the bloom is off the rose.


Polls in Florida briefly showed that DeSantis would beat the former President—but only in the wake of this campaign spending. Now, however, polling shows that the halo of victory and that massive media spending is wearing off, with a new poll showing Trump pulling ahead of DeSantis in Florida based solely on his domination of the news and with the use of no paid advertising. The narrowness of Trump’s retaking the lead in the Sunshine State is a testimony to his strength, rather than his “weakness.”


I handicapped the Don versus Ron drama for OAN.





That was not DeSantis’ only bungle. Only days prior, DeSantis had reinvented himself as a skeptic about the war in Ukraine. Whereas previously he had been a full-throated supporter of the coup in Ukraine against a democratically-elected government staged by the Obama State Department and our intelligence services. Tara Palmeri of Puck noted that “his [DeSantis] declaration on Ukraine was a flop that required cleanup.”


Recognizing that the America First majority is dominated by Republicans growingly skeptical of the wisdom of shipping billions of dollars to Ukraine while flirting with WWIII, to sound like Trump DeSantis downgraded Ukraine to a “territorial dispute” and downplayed the danger the Russians pose to the United States.


Ron tried to ape Trump’s view that Russia was not the greatest threat to the United States, although he did not go so far as to say that the Chinese are. When DeSantis’ globalists backers went crazy about this repositioning, the Governor undercut himself by blurting out that “Putin is a war criminal” in order to satisfy his war in Ukraine-loving donors.




It’s important to recognize how efficiently and ruthlessly Governor Ron DeSantis used the Florida state aircraft and a vigorous out-of-state fundraising drive to build a money machine dominated by establishment Republicans, neocons, globalists, and Bush-Cheney Republicans. DeSantis has shielded access to records that would show how often he used the state aircraft and where it flew him to- claiming that disclosure of such records “would threaten his security.” In fact, it’s an egregious violation of the state’s Sunshine Law.


On the other hand, if money was the determining factor in Republican presidential nomination politics, former Texas Governor and Treasury Secretary John Connally would have vanquished Ronald Reagan.


The fervent support of Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Megan McCain, and financiers like Ken Griffin have come to the attention of many of Trump’s supporters. For many outside of Florida, a man is identified by those he surrounds himself with or gets substantial financial or political support from. Despite his recitation of America First rhetoric, many are getting hip to the fact that DeSantis is, in fact, the candidate of the anti-Trump Republican establishment.


Karl Rove slipping on Fox News calling the DeSantis campaign “our campaign” betrays DeSantis’ own background and political positioning. The Governor and his wife recognize the power of America First issues such as illegal immigration, health freedom, public school curriculum, and exposing children to drag shows—but in reality he is an establishment Republican who only jumped on the Trump train after Trump became President. The embrace of the culture wars is reminiscent of Karl Roves’ shameless manipulation of the same sex marriage issue to help George W. Bush.


In fact, in an interview in 2016, DeSantis refused to endorse Donald Trump before Trump won the presidential nomination. DeSantis became a Trump supporter the minute Trump was elected President. But a stunning piece in the New York Times tells us who Ron DeSantis really is—a Bush-Cheney Republican.




The book tour may also not be going as smoothly as planned. The Governor’s book deal with HarperCollins, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The book deal itself was the subject of a multipart complaint a pro-Trump Super PAC lodged with the Florida State Ethics Commission. The Governor’s publisher was supposed to be Simon & Schuster until it abruptly moved publication to the Murdoch-owned publishing house; for which Murdoch paid $2.3 million. The Trump PAC alleges that this may be illegal enrichment of the Governor under state law for the purposes of convincing him to run for President.


In fact, Make America Great Again Inc., the Trump-related PAC, filed a 15-page compelling complaint about the legality and funding of the shadow campaign being run by DeSantis and his wife until the Florida State Legislature can repeal the current prohibition of a sitting governor running for federal office because the terms overlap (under Florida state law, Governor Rick Scott did not have to resign to run for the U.S. Senate because the Governor’s term ended before the U.S. Senate term began).


In reality, given the slow pace of the Florida State Ethics Commission, the complaint will be rendered moot when the legislature removes the current barrier to the Governor running for President while retaining the extraordinary fundraising fulcrum of being Governor of Florida and he launches a formal candidacy. The complaint served its purpose to rile up Trump supporters to the DeSantis treachery. The Trump PAC attack on DeSantis is largely symbolic but exposed to many who doubted that DeSantis would challenge Trump—exactly what was going on.


There are signs, at the same time, that all is not peachy with the DeSantis book tour. DeSantis critics will be on the hunt to learn exactly how many books the Governor sells. In his book signings, he will sign books but they are limited to one per person and he will provide no personalization. In other words, there’s no “To Jose…”. At my book signings, I personalize every copy and will sign as many books as each individual wants to buy. I am finally selling signed copies of my book, The Myth of Russian Collusion, which the judge in my case threatened to jail me for writing.



In the end, the Governor’s book sales are likely to be far less than the handsome advance that he got from Rupert Murdoch. How will we ever know how many books Ron DeSantis really sells?


Former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo had his PAC spend $42,000 on book copies of his book, while possible candidate Mike Pence also spent $91,000 for his less-than-inspiring tome. Ron and Casey will pocket money from Rupert Murdoch for his book.


Should the Governor decide to move ahead with a presidential bid, even with his donors beginning to urge him to drop back and run in 2028, he would still have access to big money. The Governor is no populist when it comes to protecting the people of Florida.



Rather than destroy Disney’s special tax status, DeSantis took a cool million dollars from Disney for his inauguration; leaving Disney’s status in a special taxing district intact—but taking control of the tax district’s board. Disney can continue to set their own tax rates and float tax-free bonds, but only with the Governor’s appointees’ future approval. DeSantis will milk Disney for millions more while voters are sold the notion that DeSantis has somehow curbed Disney’s corrosive effect on our culture.


Florida Power & Light (FPL) and other utilities donated over $9 million to the Governor’s reelection campaign and political committees. In return, Floridians got the greatest increase in their electric bills in state history—as the utilities’ new rates were challenged by the Governor. His appointees also allowed utility companies to a little-known body allowed utility companies to stop disclosing information about how they are shutting off the power for thousands of struggling Florida residents.


Insurance companies that do business in Florida are also big DeSantis givers. The Governor and Republican legislators just gave them Tort Reform which prohibits homeowners whose homes were damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Ian from suing their insurance companies when the insurance companies deny their claims and agree to pay them pennies on the dollar. State Treasurer Jimmy Patronis does nothing and is in on this insurance industry fundraising shakedown.


The Governor even signed a Tort Reform bill which says that a motorcycle rider in Florida who is not wearing a helmet and is hit by a motorist is responsible for the accident—even though declining to wear a helmet is legal in the “free state of Florida.” To say that Bikers For Trump are unhappy with the Governor is an understatement.



All of these populist issues can be exploited in the Florida Republican primary.


The Governor’s relatively skillful effort to reinvent his handling of the Covid-19 vaccination really withers when the facts and small print of his attempt to distance himself from his full-throated advocacy of the safety and effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccinations and masks is examined. Mandatory masks were still required in the seven largest counties with a combined public school presence of 3.6 million children long after DeSantis was telling Republican donors in Nevada that the Florida schools were mask-free. The Governor also allowed the local Democrat-controlled governments in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County to viciously enforce the lockdowns as well as extending them.



The Governor, of course, also signed the law granting immunity to those who pushed the Covid-19 vaccination or killed people through the use of Remdesivir and ventilators. The families of those who died have been barred from any legal action against those who killed their family members. Hospitals and hospital chains have given the Governor millions for this little goodie. In fact, DeSantis was allowing the lockdown of South Florida’s beaches long after Trump was calling for an end to the lockdowns. These two Twitter threads by Jean-Marie Nacer (@here_I_go_so), a nurse, mother, Palm Beach activist document the Governor’s real record on Covid-19 vaccination and lockdown mandates.


In his interview with Piers Morgan, DeSantis criticizes Trump for not firing Dr. Anthony Fauci, when DeSantis fired none of his health advisors who sold him on the vaccination and the need to mask, as well as closing down Florida’s beaches and restaurants—a massive blow to the South Florida economy. DeSantis, on the other hand, appointed one of the most vicious advocates for both vaccinations and masks, liberal Democrat Palm Beach Mayor David Kerner—whose Gestapo-like uniformed “Covid-19 Compliance Task Force” terrorized businesses and individuals seen anywhere without masks.



Kerner insisted that DeSantis had approved all of his Gestapo-like mask and vaccination actions. Businesses were destroyed, employees were fired, and Kerner even posted a “snitch line” through which people could anonymously tip off his jackbooted thugs to their noncompliance.


It is important to note that Kerner, a liberal Democrat, actually publicly endorsed DeSantis’ reelection weeks before election. Kerner was then almost immediately appointed to the Governor’s cabinet as Executive Director of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles—a job in which he will have access to the state’s citizens’ databases, including voter data. It makes the Governor’s sniping about Fauci pretty ridiculous.


DeSantis’ use of Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is not the wedge issue DeSantis has sought to make it based on the facts regarding his own role in pushing the vaccine and the truth about his vaccination and mask mandate record. The Palm Beach County tax collector fired employees who refused to be vaccinated and the Governor never used his statutory authority to remove him, as he did a State’s Attorney who thorted the Governor’s cultural war. Fire Fauci indeed.




There is evidence, however, that DeSantis’ major donors may be second-guessing whether DeSantis is up to getting into a cage match with Donald J. Trump. Many in MAGA world were unhappy with the President’s strident attack on the man he unilaterally elevated to the governorship of Florida. However, polling suggests that these flurry of attacks combined with the Governor’s bugling of his response to the Manhattan-based assault on Trump, as well as his rhetorical flip flop on the war in Ukraine, have all contributed to his nosedive in the polls, as noted by none other than The New York Times.


New York Magazine had the most accurate assessment about Trump’s strength, intensity, and the durability of his support. Although I would point out that the polling cited was actually before Trump announced to the world that he expected to be charged in a politically motivated prosecution by George Soros-funded Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.


That the DeSantis campaign is shopping for staffers in the early primary and caucus states is an open secret in the political professionals’ marketplace. Susie Wiles, who successfully helmed Rick Scott’s original race for Governor, Trump’s Florida victory in 2016, Governor Ron DeSantis’ first election, let it be known that those who abandoned Trump but were rejected by DeSantis, would not be let back in the Trump fort.


One should pay some attention to the social media skirmishes between the most probably paid “influencers” online assaulting Trump and duking it out with Trump loyalists who have pointed out everything about DeSantis, including his comment that the man he most admired was not Ronald Reagan but George H. W. Bush, the lifts in the Governor’s shoes to make him look taller, Casey DeSantis wearing formal long evening gloves to make her look like Jackie O, and the transparency of the most probably illegal shadow campaign being run before DeSantis becomes a legal candidate. Generally speaking; elite opinion – when dominant – becomes mass opinion over time. Despite the tightly coordinated and financially lubricated online influencer and bot army commanded by DeSantis communications advisor Christina Pushaw, there is no evidence that Trump’s overwhelming support online is anything other than robust, massive, and dominant.


Given his nosedive in the polls, there are multiple reports that his donors are growing skeptical about his prospects of wrestling the 2024 nomination away from Donald Trump. They should be.