Trump: DeSantis running in the primary is “ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

Are actual elections now “election interference”? Say what you will about Donald Trump, but the former president certainly knows about staying on brand. Just days after welcoming Tim Scott to the GOP presidential primary, Trump had a much different reaction this morning to Ron DeSantis’ announcement this evening on Twitter with Elon Musk.

Most of this regurgitates Trump’s previous arguments that DeSantis owed him a pass in 2024, but he adds a remarkable new claim at the end:

Trump made almost exactly the same argument a month ago in an ill-considered campaign-ad premiere. That argument hasn’t grown any more convincing over the last four weeks, and Trump’s usual hysterical tone doesn’t improve matters either. It’s true that Trump endorsed DeSantis in 2018, but it’s also true that DeSantis not only endorsed Trump in 2020 but also campaigned for him and helped deliver Florida for the GOP. If nothing else, they’re even, and none of that matters in this cycle.

As I wrote at the time, cross-endorsements do not promise a lifetime of submission in politics, nor should they. Politicians serve us, not the other way around, and they should expect competition when it comes to open seats and nominations. If Trump can’t handle DeSantis, why would we expect him to defeat Joe Biden — especially since Trump already lost to Biden once?

That’s where we come to Trump’s new argument — that primaries are a new form of … wait for it

Yes, those posts are in sequence; I pulled it from the Truth Social website myself to verify it.  Trump is arguing that DeSantis is committing “election interference” by interfering with Trump’s attempt to win another GOP nomination. In other words, competitive elections are now “election interference” for Trump. And, one might extrapolate, Trump considers anything that prevents his victory to be “election interference.”

That does put another gloss on the whole post-2020 election narrative from Team Trump, no?

So why didn’t Trump trot that out when Tim Scott entered the race this week? It’s because Trump doesn’t consider Scott a threat for the nomination, plainly. (He’s hardly alone in that calculation, to be fair, although I think Scott could surprise some people.) Trump offered Scott a welcome to the primary fight, albeit with a self-promoting message, because it won’t cost him anything.

DeSantis, however, promises a real fight. First, he’s almost half Trump’s age in a cycle where Biden’s competence issues raise serious questions and an opportunity to counter with youth and vigor. Second, DeSantis has just come off a landslide victory in Florida, and he and his allies still have close to $100 million in their coffers for the primary. DeSantis is the only active governor in the race (so far) and has just concluded a legislative session in which DeSantis got most if not all of his conservative agenda enacted. He’s at peak relevance, he’s got energy and funding, and DeSantis has prepared the ground with successful tours in battleground states already, especially Iowa.

DeSantis has Trump worried, and Trump should be worried. To put it in more Trumpian terms: DeSantis is clearly living rent-free in Trump’s head, and he hasn’t even yet officially announced his campaign for the nomination.

Just how much has DeSantis moved into Trump’s head? Max Nordau offers Trump’s next Truth Social post:

Will that work for Trump against DeSantis? It certainly hasn’t dissuaded DeSantis from taking on Trump in a primary. That seems to be making Trump ever more desperate, and “desperation is a stinky cologne,” as the late Daniel von Bargen said in Super Troopers. If this is all Trump plans to offer, Republican voters may want to consider whether they want to support a politician who finds competitive elections offensive, and whether they want to burn the future of the party for a chance to relitigate its past.



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