Right-Wing Media Declare DeSantis Presidential Campaign Is Already Dead (VIDEO)

Trump and DeSantis

Former President Donald Trump, left, and Gov. Ron DeSantis

Media figures say “the inadvertent martyrdom” in Manhattan criminal court “just made Donald Trump the nominee”.

The 34 felony counts faced by former President Donald Trump in New York mark a historic moment for the U.S., and, according to some in right-wing media, the end of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presumed campaign for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Since 2018, DeSantis had been a darling of the broader conservative movement, after barely winning the governor’s race with Trump's endorsement. Hype for a potential presidential campaign eventually followed, as media began to discuss him as a successor to Trump. But once DeSantis began to emerge as a potential challenger to Trump, the former heir apparent began a relative fall from grace.

And now that Trump is facing nearly three dozen felonies related to his alleged hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, the alternate universe of right-wing media has even more supposed evidence that Trump is a victim of a never-ending witch hunt by the radical Democrats. It may prove difficult for DeSantis to win over primary voters who, “as a screw you” to the Democrats, “start wanting to support Donald Trump."

“The flood of support continues to pour in for President Donald Trump,” reported OAN’s Daniel Baldwin on Monday. Baldwin noted that Trump raised millions of dollars and recruited thousands of volunteers -- and polled 30 points ahead of DeSantis post-indictment -- “suggesting the American people are rallying behind the 45th president.”

Right-wing commentator Steven Crowder commented that Trump’s criminal case is so “unprecedented when you’re talking about modern American history” that it could outrage the Republican base into supporting Trump as the nominee: “For me, it’s like, as a screw you, now I start wanting to support Donald Trump. It’s like, I want him to be the candidate.”

Describing the criminal case as “the inadvertent martyrdom of Donald Trump,” right-wing influencer Russell Brand claimed that the felony charges do not reflect “genuine concern about illegitimate action,” but “obviously an attempt to derail Trump’s ongoing successful campaign where, astonishingly, he’s up to 30 points ahead of Ron DeSantis,” despite the governor being “something of a darling” for conservatives generally.

With Trump popularly understood in conservative circles as a victim of Democratic judicial tyranny, his footing in the primary is strong enough that some right-wing media voices are wondering why DeSantis would even announce a campaign.

“President Trump has surged in the polls,” boasted Karoline Leavitt, a former assistant press secretary in the Trump administration, speaking on a Newsmax panel. “National polls have him 30 points ahead of his next contender, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who, frankly, shouldn't even run at this point for the presidency.”

Leavitt’s dismissal of DeSantis drew ire from the panel, but she doubled down: “If you want to run, you should run to win, and Gov. Ron DeSantis is going to be running to lose.”

Newsmax host Rob Schmitt summed up the mood on April 5, with a clip of Fox host Mark Levin, whom Schmitt described as “leaning toward DeSantis until he saw what’s happening to Donald Trump.” In the clip, Levin yelled that “at this time, at this moment, with these American Marxist movements taking over … he’s the guy” to “fight back” against the left. Schmitt concluded that “this moment is endearing a lot of the Republican base back to Donald Trump.”

As my colleague Matt Gertz has noted, conservatives believe that any attack on Trump is an attack on his voters, because conservative media and Trump himself have said as much for years. It stands to reason that the effect would be strongest at the current apex of Trump’s legal vulnerability, and may only grow stronger as other, more serious cases against him advance.

One of Schmitt’s guests, longtime right-wing commentator and CPAC chief Matt Schlapp, confirmed the bad news for DeSantis’ campaign with a quote from one of the governor’s unnamed supporters: “I think yesterday just made Donald Trump the nominee.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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