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Maybe Trump was being too honest and sane on COVID




After running for governor as a loyal Donald Trump stalwart, Ron DeSantis angered his former boss by raising the possibility of him running for president without Trump’s permission.

This strategy requires a way to differentiate on something other than personality, where Trump is seen as the ideal beau among the party base (and DeSantis can only offer a pale imitation.) DeSantis has grasped the response to the pandemic. As Trump tiptoed around vaccine skepticism, DeSantis stepped in with both feet, banning private companies such as cruise lines from demanding vaccinations, naming a skeptic vis-a-vis vaccines to his state’s highest office and refusing to say if he had received his booster dose.

Trump recently used the last point to portray DeSantis as evasive and weak. I watched a few politicians being interviewed, and one of the questions was Did you get a callback? Because they had the vaccine, and they answer like in other words, the answer is yes, but they don’t want to say it because they are gutless, he told OAN.

DeSantis is now responding by attacking Trump as weak for urging people to engage in social distancing at the start of the pandemic. Asked by a right-wing podcast if he had any regrets, DeSantis replied that he wanted to speak out against the Trump administration locking down the country at the start of the pandemic. I never would have thought that in February, early March, it would lead to the country being locked down, he said. And I think if knowing now what I know then, if it was a threat earlier, I would have been a lot louder, you know, trying to say it’s not. (DeSantis often speaks in garbled prose, but the meaning of his remarks in context was perfectly clear.)

It came after DeSantis attacked conservative Supreme Court justices for upholding a vaccination mandate on healthcare workers. Roberts and Kavanaugh had no backbone on that decision, he complained. What hospitals need, according to DeSantis, are unvaccinated people wandering the halls.

What’s notable about DeSantiss’ rants on this topic, aside from their continued complacency in anti-vaccine nuts, is his obvious determination to run to Trump in the midst of the pandemic.

It’s telling that among the many failures DeSantis could cite by Trump, he takes advantage of former presidents’ initial willingness to do anything about the pandemic. Trump has repeatedly denied the coronavirus poses a serious public health risk and insisted it will go away while trying to hide the extent of the spread and treat the entire pandemic as a state plot deep to undermine his re-election. Looking at this record, DeSantis decided that Trump’s weak point was the brief moments of common sense and candor when he acknowledged the virus was real.

DeSantis may or may not be crazier about COVID than Donald Trump. But it’s a telling commentary on the state of their party that he sees his best chance of supplanting Trump by positioning himself as even crazier.

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