Ron DeSantis questions whether Donald Trump is still a conservative ‘hard charger’
Image via Newsmax

'He's taking positions that are a little bit different than 4 or 5 years ago.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis is arguing that Donald Trump is not the conservative he once was, outlining an attack Republican voters will hear a lot of in the coming months.

During a Newsmax interview, the Florida Governor and freshly minted presidential candidate expressed surprise and dismay over the former President “attacking” DeSantis “from the Left.”

“I mean, I think that some of the things he’s been attacking me on, I’ve been a little surprised at because he’s attacking me from the Left. And that really wasn’t the Donald Trump from 2015 and 2016,” DeSantis said.

The Governor went on to describe Trump’s seeming evolution.

“I mean, he was a hard charger leaning in on all the issues, very edgy on conservative issues, and it was part of the reason he did so well. But when he’s taken Disney’s side against me, I just kind of wonder, like, ‘OK, I get, he wants to hit me, but don’t take the side of a multinational corporation that wants to sexualize kids.'”

The former President has suggested that The Walt Disney Co. could stop investing in Florida because of the ongoing back-and-forth with the Governor in the wake of 2022’s Parental Rights in Education law, which Disney opposed.

“He’s also hitting me against voting against immigration amnesty,” DeSantis noted. He referred to legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte in 2018 that didn’t get full Republican support in the House.

“And he said that is akin to voting against the wall (at the Mexican Border). But that bill was a 2-million-person amnesty for illegal aliens, very little money for any border security. All conservatives opposed it,” DeSantis said. “(Trump) did support it as President, which a lot of us were upset about.”

The Governor closed the answer, which was a response to a question about whether he could share a ticket with Trump, by again accusing the former President of policy apostasy.

“To hit me for taking the America first position I just think is a little strange, so I’m not sure what his strategy is. But I think he’s taking positions that are a little bit different than four or five years ago.”

DeSantis also rejected claims from Trump that he is an “establishment Republican” in thrall to former House Speaker Paul Ryan and political consultant Karl Rove.

“I have not spoken to Paul Ryan since I’ve been Governor, I’ve met Karl Rove once in my life. They are not involved in my political operation. So that’s just manufactured garbage that people put out there online,” DeSantis argued.

“Look at my record. How many establishment Republicans would have sent illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard? How many establishment Republicans would have stood up against Disney? How many establishment Republicans would have signed the bill that I just signed to ban land purchases from people affiliated with the CCP in the state of Florida?”

The Governor continued in this vein.

“How many establishment Republicans would have leaned in to support our children against the pronoun Olympics? We banned the pronoun Olympics and our schools were the first state to do that. How many establishment Republicans would have banned gender transition surgeries for minors?”

The Governor closed with a flourish.

“So, on every issue that kind of the old guard of the Republican Party would have shied away from in a New York minute, I’m not only leaning into them, I’m winning against the media and against the Left.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 26, 2023 at 9:29 am

    DeSantis isn’t one to be talking about somebody taking positions that are different from four or five years ago when they were just Ron DeSantis, a guy running up the center for Governor and then initially even governing from the center. But as we all remember, Ron DeSantis anti-trans-formed themselves into Runaround Rhonda, running around arbitrarily accusing everybody of sexualizing children despite zero evidence of anyone sexualizing children. Being the height of a typical child, perhaps Rhonda just feels left out while Casey is in her bedroom enjoying the buzz. Bzz bzz bzz.

  • Hamberdglur

    May 26, 2023 at 9:34 am

    If we could get a Mick polling at 2nd place in the GOP field, we would have the GOP clown car triumvirate of perfection: Ronald Mick Donald.

    • Mitch McConnell

      May 26, 2023 at 9:47 am

      Mitch McConnell can be Mick.

      • Hamberdglur

        May 26, 2023 at 9:49 am

        Good idea!

        RONALD desantis
        mitch MC connell
        Trump, DONALD j

        and right there, that is the perfect GOP clown car!

  • PeterH

    May 26, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    Please don’t think real conservatives will be voting for Trump or DeSantis. Most real conservatives have abandoned the Republican Party!

  • Muppet Show

    May 27, 2023 at 10:03 am

    Ron DeSantis has a bright future playing Kermit the Frog in Disney’s planned live action Muppet Show movies. This is why he started the fight with Disney. The DeSantis Camp says he’ll drop his War on Disney if, and only if, Ron gets to play Kermit the Frog.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn