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Senator Mitch McConnell is said to be behind escalating stories of a feud between Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to Donald Trump’s advisers.
The pair have been rumored to be feuding for several weeks, with Trump reportedly being impatient that DeSantis hasn’t stated whether he’ll seek the GOP nomination in 2024.
DeSantis was allegedly branded as dull by Trump as he began sharing his frustrations with people within his inner circle.
McConnell, who is battling Trump over the future of the Republican Party, has now been blamed by Trump’s advisers for escalating the untruths.
DeSantis appeared on the Ruthless podcast, which is hosted by Josh Holmes, McConnell’s longtime adviser, after criticizing the Covid lockdowns that Trump had promoted early on in the pandemic.
A top Trump adviser, citing four other anonymous staffers, told Fox News: ‘I like Josh. Josh is great. But he’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of McConnell World.
‘And there’s no way you can tell me that this was all a coincidence.’
With Trump’s aspirations of running for president again in 2024, many political pundits believe Trump is irritated by the prospect of DeSantis running against him and by his growing popularity.
The advisor said: ‘Also, DeSantis and his staff knew what they were doing. How many Florida general election voters are listening to the Ruthless podcast?
‘Now, that said, they might have been hoping for more out of Ron, because, let’s face it, he didn’t really criticize Trump. But they knew the media would instantly jump on it and wish-cast it into existence.’
McConnell views DeSantis as the ‘lesser of two evils’ and a way to frustrate Trump, the adviser said.
A few days prior to DeSantis’ appearance on the podcast, Trump had lashed out at politicians, including DeSantis, who refuse to divulge whether they have received a COVID vaccine or booster, calling them ‘gutless.’
A GOP source, who requested anonymity, explained: ‘DeSantis doing a Josh Holmes podcast to thump Trump is not what I had on my bingo card. This is a thing.’
An adviser continued: ‘DeSantis is definitely asserting his independence. And yeah, it’s hard not to see the hand of McConnell in all this. Who benefits from a Trump-DeSantis feud? The Democrats. The media. And McConnell.’
A different adviser said: ‘There are no coincidences.’
The suggestion that Holmes had coordinated with McConnell is ‘insane.’ Holmes denied any negative intentions toward Trump.
According to Fox News, a Republican strategist who opposes Trump does not believe McConnell has any plans to oppose Trump.
According to Sarah Longwell: ‘I’m sure Josh Holmes would like you to believe that Mitch McConnell is behind the scenes, moving pieces against Trump.
‘But I don’t think that’s it. I think that McConnell is wholly owned by Trump.’
Trump’s advisers claim McConnell was responsible for the tension, which comes after sources close to the former president said Trump has become increasingly irked by DeSantis in recent months, and he has begun to express his displeasure to those close to him.
‘In the context of the 2024 election, he usually gives DeSantis a pop in the nose in the middle of that type of conversation,’ said a source who recently spoke to Trump about DeSantis.
‘He says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality,’ a reliable source told Axios.
Several pundits believe that Trump is irritated at DeSantis’ interest in running against him, as well as his growing popularity.
‘There are stories out now about Trump and DeSantis snapping towels at each other because Trump can see the same thing that everyone else can: DeSantis is getting ready [to run] no matter what Trump does,’ said former national security adviser John Bolton to Fox News.
The president is said to be further annoyed that DeSantis hasn’t made it clear he won’t run against him should he decide to run for office again.
Trump has yet to make his own announcement and is not expected to until early next year.
Former President Trump’s close aides say he expects to run for the White House again – but also admit he may choose to act as the ‘kingmaker’ for the next presidential candidate instead.
The source, who did not want to be identified, said they have heard Trump criticize DeSantis on several occasions.
It seems that Trump is angry with DeSantis because the governor of Florida ‘won’t say he won’t run [in 2024]. … The others have stated pretty clearly they won’t challenge him,’ said the source.
‘Trump has been telling a range of aides a version of, he isn’t getting the deference from DeSantis that he wants in the pre-2024 leadup.’
The New York Times reported that DeSantis has told friends he does not believe Trump’s demand that he bow the knee is reasonable.
In Florida, the governor is seeking re-election. Meanwhile, Trump claims he made him. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, former President Trump backed then-Congressman DeSantis. DeSantis’ strategy to win the general election was to heavily tie himself to Trump, including running ads in which he taught his children how to say ‘Build the Wall’ and ‘Make America Great Again.’
‘Look, I helped Ron DeSantis at a level that nobody’s ever seen before,’ Trump said in an interview with The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters regarding his upcoming book, ‘Insurgency,’ which explores the Republican Party’s further shift to the right.
According to Trump, DeSantis ‘didn’t have a chance’ to win without his help.
During Trump’s presidency, DeSantis was a frequent visitor to Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago. When Trump was in town, DeSantis and Trump dined together regularly.
According to a recent interview by Donald Trump, politicians who refuse to disclose whether they have received their COVID vaccine or booster are ‘gutless.’ DeSantis was among those targeted.
‘I’ve taken it, I’ve had the booster,’ Trump said.
‘Many politicians – I’ve watched a couple of politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was ‘did you get the booster,’ he continued. ‘The answer is yes but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless. You gotta say it, whether you’ve had it or not, say it.’
‘The vaccine has saved tens of millions of people throughout the world. I have had absolutely no side effects,’ he said during an interview with OAN that aired Tuesday.
But the former president believes young people should not be vaccinated.
‘I don’t think young, healthy people should take it. I think that, certainly these young kids their immune system is so strong,’ he said, before telling the story of how his 15-year-old son Barron had Covid-19 for ‘like two seconds.’
As a result of his confidence in being the GOP nominee, Trump has said that if he runs again for president, most other Republicans will ‘drop out.’
As recently as October, Trump boasted that if he were to run for the GOP nomination in 2024, he could easily defeat Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose popularity has been skyrocketing during the pandemic.
‘If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,’ he remarked at the time.
‘I don’t think I will face him,’ Trump asserted during the interview. ‘I think most people would drop out, I think he would drop out.’
This prediction was made by Trump while he was interviewed by Yahoo Finance.
Trump is still popular with Republican voters, and he has a lot of influence among Republican politicians as he thinks about running for president a third time.
‘It’s getting to a point where we really have no choice’ Trump said last month about his possible candidacy.