Alarm bells in Tallahassee began to blare after POLITICO filed a story drawing attention to a potentially serious rift between President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump needs Gov. DeSantis to deliver Florida, but the POLITICO story paints a dreary picture of a “souring relationship” between the president and Gov. DeSantis, leaving quite a few Republican operatives wondering if the problem the two men are said to be having could jeopardize Trump’s re-election effort in the state.
Sources inside the Trump campaign have confirmed DeSantis’s loyalty is in question and point to his relationship and support of left-leaning environmental groups, many of which are hellbent in defeating Trump this November, such as the Everglades Foundation-funded Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity.
DeSantis alleged problems with the president isn’t the only problem he faces, as his hand-picked chairman to lead Florida Republicans, state Senator Joe Gruters has not lived up to expectations.
It is also worth mentioning that the Republican Party of Florida’s Executive Director Peter O’Rourke, who DeSantis installed, is gone.
In talking to several former and current state committeemen and state committeewoman, who asked that we not mention their names in this story, the sentiment is that they have lost confidence in Gruters, but what could be more worrisome to DeSantis is that these same folks are highly skeptical that DeSantis will be able to deliver the state for Trump.
“Joe Gruters has screwed up so badly,” said one committeewoman, “There is no access to DeSantis. There are no Lincoln Day dinners. How is he helping the REC’s by doing that?”
This frustration about DeSantis all-but ghosting the Executive Committee and county GOP’s was the tone that all five individuals The Floridian spoke to shared.
Another current committeeman said that “they (governor’s office) have shut everyone out,” adding that “all communications to the committee has been shut down.”
An ally of DeSantis, who came to the rescue is Rep. Matt Gaetz, who recently tested negative for the Coronavirus but still self-quarantined.
“Some selfish politicians and political operatives observe the special relationship between the president and governor with envy, so they try to cast their own hurt feelings as conflict through anonymous quotes to reporters,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz.
We have placed two anonymous quotes in this story because these two individuals, who are in complete support of the DeSantis, mentioned that they had a real fear that they would feel a backlash against them for speaking out against the state GOP.
The RPOF pushed back against POLITICO article, which we confirmed to be extremely accurate, specifically when it came down to the party itself.
“The Governor’s close relationship with the President is steadfast and goes beyond a campaign or re-election efforts… “The governor is committed to delivering Florida to the President, and appropriately, is focused on governing and addressing the critical needs of our state.” “The comments made by those who claim to be RPOF insiders demonstrates that they are clearly in the dark,” RPOF spokeswoman Alia Faraj-Johnson said. “We are stronger than ever and have just begun our planned spending on a massive voter registration effort.”
Even if there is a bit of rift between Trump and DeSantis, in the end, it will be Trump who dictates how the GOP runs Florida. The state party does not have the money or infrastructure in place to beat vice president Joe Biden (if he is the nominee), so expect the president to bolster the fundraising effort on his own.
The bigger issue for Trump will be the RPOF’s non-existent ground game, but that could quickly change.
After all, this is Florida, and looking back at past elections, all bets are off when it comes down to voting.
As our Cuban-American amigos would say, DALE!