Team Trump and its supporters sure look nervous these days as everyone waits for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to announce his decision to run for president. A Trump-supporting super political action committee (PAC) has filed an ethics complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics against DeSantis.
MAGA Inc. filed a 15-page complaint Wednesday asking the commission to investigate Governor DeSantis for allegedly “leveraging his elected office and breaching his associated duties in a coordinated effort to develop his national profile, enrich himself and his political allies, and influence the national electorate.” The PAC shared the complaint with The Associated Press.
The super PAC claims DeSantis is violating campaign finance and ethics rules with a shadow run for president. DeSantis’ office responded by calling the ethics complaint a “frivolous and politically motivated” charge. That tracks with the usual responses by DeSantis and his office. They typically ignore incoming attacks from both Democrats and Republicans. In the case of Trump, he is a former president with a dream of a rematch with Joe Biden to avenge his loss in 2020. He won’t win. Only Trump and his most loyal supporters don’t realize that. Republicans have a great opportunity in 2024 to take back the White House but nominating Trump as the candidate is a sure way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Sorry. Not sorry.
It says DeSantis is “already a de facto candidate for President of the United States,” citing the governor’s meetings with donors, outreach by allies to potential staff and his courting of influential Republicans in early-voting states, among other efforts. The complaint asks the nine-member commission — five of whose members were appointed by DeSantis — to punish the governor by having him suspended from office, publicly censured or fined.
DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske dismissed the accusations and questioned the motives of the complaint. “Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks. It’s inappropriate to use state ethics complaints for partisan purposes,” she said in a statement.
The irony here is that Trump was also the subject of similar criticism. He announced his candidacy in November and was accused of violating federal campaign laws, allegedly raising and spending money for a presidential run before he formally launched his 2024 campaign. He didn’t receive a fine or reprimand. Notice that the PAC asks that DeSantis be “suspended from office, publicly censured, or fined.” Good luck with that.
Trump is struggling to figure out how to handle Ron DeSantis. He is Trump’s strongest competition and Trump is desperately trying to keep him out of the race. Once DeSantis gets in, Trump will keep escalating his attacks in hopes that DeSantis will get out. He underestimates DeSantis. DeSantis will get out if he doesn’t get the votes in primaries to receive the Republican nomination. DeSantis drives Trump crazy by ignoring him and not getting in the gutter with him. That will eventually change but not yet. Look for DeSantis to finish the Florida Legislature’s session before he announces his candidacy.
Trump has tried stupid nicknames, misrepresenting DeSantis’ record in Congress, and name calling like RINO and globalist. He’s failed at all of those attacks so a PAC is stepping in with the latest one. We’ll see how far it gets.