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Ron DeSantis Endorses Election Deniers

DeSantis isn’t challenging Trump for the 2024 nomination. He’s auditioning to be Trump’s understudy.
August 9, 2022
Ron DeSantis Endorses Election Deniers
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit held at the Tampa Convention Center on July 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Pour one out for all the anti-anti-Trumpers who thought the grand eminence of the Sunshine State, America’s Governor Ron DeSantis, would be coy enough to avoid getting mired in all the yucky January 6th-style election denialism so he could be the great 2024 Republican vessel to painlessly float them away from the land of mean tweets.

It’s not that I hate to say, “I told you so.” That’s usually pretty fun. I’m just sick of saying it a hundred million times. What did they expect? DeSantis is the guy who made his baby play “Build the Wall” to endear himself to Trump in his 2018 gubernatorial primary. Subtlety has never been his thing.

This campaign season, DeSantis is sending another unmistakable pro-Trump signal by wrapping himself in a big unity flag with MAGA candidates Doug Mastriano and Kari Lake. Announcements went out Monday that DeSantis is ready and willing to campaign with these two great patriots who just happened to stake their campaigns on Trump’s 2020 election lies, false claims of fraud, threats to prosecute those who certified the election, and promises to (somehow) overturn the results.

But what you have to understand is that as DeSantis tours the country laying the groundwork for a potential 2024 bid himself, it’s not that Lake or Mastriano is endorsing DeSantis.

DeSantis is endorsing them. 

DeSantis must think he needs the MAGA street cred. Or rather, that he has to hoover up so much MAGA street cred that there aren’t any stray crumbs laying around for Josh Hawley to scavenge and survive on during the cold winter in Des Moines. Otherwise, from DeSantis’s view, what’s the point?

It’s not like Lake and Mastriano will return the endorsement favor for DeSantis in a mano-a-mano matchup against Trump. If it comes to that, Lake and Mastriano will be standing right beside Big Orange.

Surely DeSantis knows this. It’s factored into his calculation. He is laying the groundwork not for a 2024 primary challenge to Trump but to be Trump’s 2024 understudy. Should Trump find himself not feeling well or suffering from a case of unexpected prisonitis, DeSantis will be there, waiting in the wings for the ceremonial shofar to be blown as he is called to the stage by an adoring crowd of insurrectionists.

What’s sad is that so many Good Republicans had really hoped that DeSantis would be something more than a Trump knockoff. See the berating Liz Cheney took over the weekend from the anti-anti Twitterati because she had the nerve to tell the New York Times she thought it would be e “very difficult” to support DeSantis as a Trump alternative in 2024.

“I think that Ron DeSantis has lined himself up almost entirely with Donald Trump, and I think that’s very dangerous,” Cheney said.

By holding unity rallies with Lake and Mastriano, DeSantis proved Cheney right. Although anyone with any sense should have seen it coming. Because there’s no difference between DeSantis endorsing Trump and DeSantis endorsing all the other election deniers, when you think about it.

Endorse one, endorse ’em all.

Amanda Carpenter

Bulwark political columnist Amanda Carpenter is a CNN contributor, author, and former communications director to Sen. Ted Cruz and speechwriter to Sen. Jim DeMint.