Now, however, DeSantis has begun to shine as an equally repulsive alternative to Trump without the baggage of being a disgraced, twice-impeached, presidential loser who just can't let go of his glory days in the White House. New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman writes in The Atlantic that she "heard that Trump was describing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis" in these inadvertently reflexive terms in her forthcoming book, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.
Exactly when Trump started shooting these darts at DeSantis isn't exactly clear in the text of Haberman's piece. She conducted three interviews with Trump over the course of 2021 but only reports having heard about his use of the terms, not having witnessed them herself.
What is clear is Trump is keenly aware that DeSantis is encroaching on his plans to keep a stranglehold on a party that has become nothing more than oozy gooey putty in his hands. Over the course of the past year, DeSantis has emerged as the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination if Trump doesn't run, but he is also rivaling Trump in some polls while eclipsing him in fundraising. Since January 2021, DeSantis and his allied groups have raised $174 million, the top fundraiser among both Republicans and Democrats who are viewed as potential '24 contenders, according to Open Secrets. Trump's haul in the same time period has been roughly $131 million, a sizable sum but still tens of millions less than DeSantis.
What this new revelation reveals is the fact that Trump is seething about the potential of being edged out by DeSantis. It's only a matter of time before that animus bubbles over into full public view.
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