The 2024 presidential election campaigns are just getting rolling, but Trump vs. DeSantis already seems to be in high gear.
The former President and the popular Florida Governor appear destined to clash in the Republican primaries as the top 2 candidates. And Trump isn’t wasting any time breaking down his opponent.
He just made a surprise move against DeSantis, and it’s raising eyebrows in Washington.
Trump has officially announced his candidacy for 2024, though DeSantis has yet to confirm. Even so, the former POTUS seems to believe the confrontation is inevitable.
As a result, he’s taking a close look at the Florida leader — and he believes DeSantis is guilty of certain “illegal conduct.”
The two men were once allies but since Trump confirmed his 2024 bid, he appears to have turned hostile toward DeSantis. He’s even said he “made a mistake” in endorsing DeSantis for the Governorship.
Now, a new attack (from Breitbart):
The pro-Trump Super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. has filed an ethics complaint against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), accusing the governor of engaging in ‘illegal conduct’ running a ‘shadow presidential campaign.’
The Super PAC sent a letter to the Florida Commission on Ethics, and accuses DeSantis of using his recent book tour to gain a foothold on the national stage.
The complaint alleges personal gain by DeSantis at the expense of Florida taxpayers:
Certain activities related to Governor DeSantis’s ascension to the national stage, insofar as they are funded by a vast network of political committees, non-profit organizations, and prominent political operatives, are unlawful because they serve his personal political objectives, are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office.
And while DeSantis has not officially announced his 2024 candidacy, the complaint alleges that the Governor is “already a de facto candidate.”
This means he has to abide by federal election laws, which say he can’t accept gifts or campaign contributions that lead to personal benefit.
The “Shadow Presidential Campaign” of which DeSantis is accused claims the Sunshine State leader “met with influential figures in early primary states,” and says he’s “vetting operatives” there as well.
Then there are accusations of “inappropriate expenditures aimed at a national audience,” and other actions the Super PAC believes qualifies as illegal conduct.
DeSantis can only violate campaign finance laws if he’s an official candidate, though, so the accusers would somehow have to prove that DeSantis has just failed to confirm his candidacy.
The letter adds:
An investigation by the Florida Ethics Commission must occur as soon as possible. This letter provides ample evidence that Governor DeSantis is engaging in conduct that violates Florida Ethics laws.
In response, DeSantis’ office has dismissed the complaint, calling it “politically motivated.”
Even a former senior adviser of Trump’s called out the move: Ken Cuccinelli, who is now part of the Never Back Down PAC that wants DeSantis to run for President, accused Trump of playing “establishment games.”
Cuccinelli said he was “shocked but not surprised” that Trump would do this, and maintains that DeSantis’ popularity is still growing:
The overwhelming response we’ve received to building a DeSantis grassroots effort is exciting — and I’m sure intimidating. No wonder the folks on that campaign are nervous.
They should be. The MAGA movement is excited to look to its next chapter and future conservative leadership. They are excited at the potential of a President Ron DeSantis.
Right now, it looks like Republicans and Conservatives are going to have to choose a side: Trump or DeSantis.
And while Trump still leads in many early polls, it seems clear that the Florida leader is gaining plenty of support. We’ll have to see if this new legal battle has an impact on either man’s popularity.
- A Trump Super PAC has filed a complaint against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
- DeSantis is accused of “illegal conduct” in running a “shadow campaign.”
- Trump’s team claims DeSantis is breaking the law by making campaign moves, without actually declaring his candidacy.