Thursday, December 01, 2022


Ron DeSantis intends to run against Donald Trump in 2024, yet he hasn't condemned Trump, or even mildly chastised him, for having dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. As Jonathan Chait notes, DeSantis's supporters insist that he's just too darn busy doing the people's business to weigh in on matters that have nothing to do with being Florida's governor:
DeSantis’s supporters have greeted the idea that he would issue a pro forma statement denouncing white supremacists with mockery. Tablet’s Noam Blum suggested DeSantis is too busy governing for his spokesperson to issue a statement. “Contrary to how he is characterized in the national media,” sniffed National Review’s Dan McLaughlin, “Ron DeSantis’ personal approval is not required for the list of guests Floridians may invite to dinner.”
Except, of course, he isn't too darn busy to weigh in on matters outside his executive responsibilities:

DeSantis could clear time out of his busy schedule to say something about Trump's dinner. He just doesn't want to make any enemies on the right, and that extends all the way to the unabashedly racist right. We know that.

But I'm not sure every political journalist knows that. Rolling Stone's Asawin Suebsaeng tells us that DeSantis isn't failing a moral test -- he's just being savvy:
According to three people with knowledge of the directives, DeSantis’ lieutenants have told his allies not to attack Trump over the now-notorious dinner....

“In ongoing discussions following his reelection, including this week, I’ve been asked to keep my powder dry,” says Dan Eberhart, a longtime GOP donor — and former big Trump donor — recalling his conversations with Team DeSantis. (Eberhart is now backing DeSantis for 2024). “My understanding is that the DeSantis team doesn’t see upside in kicking off the fight with Trump this early, even if it may be inevitable. Wading into the Fuentes fiasco just isn’t worth it for them. The media will harpoon Trump without Team DeSantis lifting a finger.”

DeSantis’s calculated silence is in line with the Florida governor’s broader strategy for now in challenging — or, to be more precise, not challenging — Trump.... DeSantis ... has generally declined Trump’s attempts to lure him into a very public mud fight.
I hope mainstream and liberal journalists don't continue to defend loathsome behavior by DeSantis because they'd like to see Trump taken down and they see DeSantis as the guy who can get the job done. DeSantis might be strategically avoiding a fight with Trump -- at least until his book comes out in February (I assume he'll announce his candidacy at the end of the book tour) -- but he's also avoiding a fight with white supremacists because he'll want their votes eventually. His savvyness is morally bankrupt.

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