DeSantis: Trump Indictments ‘Distorted’ Primary

‘It also has just crowded out, I think, so much other stuff, and it’s sucked out a lot of oxygen,’ says Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis: Trump Indictments ‘Distorted’ Primary
(Left) Republican presidential candidates Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Christians United For Israel (CUFI) Summit 2023 in Arlington, Va., on July 17, 2023. (Right) Former President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on June 13, 2023. (AP Photo)
T.J. Muscaro

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to struggle to gain ground in the polls against former President Donald Trump, he said in a recent interview that the indictments of the 45th president and their coverage have “distorted” the upcoming primary.

“I would say if I could have one thing change, I wish Trump hadn’t been indicted on any of this stuff,” he said during an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) on Dec. 21. “I mean honestly, I think from Alvin Bragg on, I’ve criticized the cases.

“I think, you know, someone like a Bragg would not have brought that case if it was anyone other than Donald Trump, and so someone like that’s distorting justice, which is bad. But I also think it distorted the primary.”

The Republican candidate from Dunedin, Florida, argued that the four indictments have helped President Trump’s campaign, and the fact that a former president is being charged has dominated conversations around the primary.

“It also has just crowded out, I think, so much other stuff, and it’s sucked out a lot of oxygen,” he said.

Mr. DeSantis said he thinks that President Trump could win the primary, but not the general election, and that the Democrats are standing by with a plan to come out on top, using the indictments to their advantage.

“Now, in a general election, I think the Democrats have a plan on this,” he said. “I think if it gets to the point where six months from now, Trump’s the presumptive nominee and he’s having to go through all this, they have a plan for how they’re going to ride this out.”

That plan, he thinks, is to “create a narrative” that scares Democrats into replacing President Joe Biden and convincing Republicans to nominate President Trump.

The governor expressed similar concerns the day before when addressing the latest controversy: the decision by Colorado’s Supreme Court to bar President Trump from election its ballots.

“They are doing all of this stuff to basically solidify support in the primary for him, get him into the general [election], and the whole general election is going to be all this legal stuff,” he told voters in Iowa, referring to the array of charges the former president is facing, including insurrection.

He made a pitch not just for himself but for an election that would be about President Biden’s failures rather than President Trump’s legal troubles and controversy.

“What they don’t want is to have somebody like me who will make the election not about those other issues but make the election about the failures of Biden, the failures of the Left, and how we’re going to be able to turn the country around,” he said. “If that’s how the election is framed, we will win.”

Mr. DeSantis continues to reject the polls and is betting on people growing tired of the controversy and, as his campaign has said, “vote with their feet.”

The latest primary poll update from FiveThirtyEight puts President Trump at 62 percent, with Mr. DeSantis in second place with 11.9 percent. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley follows in third place with 10.9 percent.
Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, T.J. Muscaro covers the Sunshine State, America's space industry, the theme park industry, and family-related issues.
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