DeSantis blasting Trump is too little, too late—but not for Biden

A little over a month out from the Iowa caucuses, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got the message: The only path to the Republican nomination runs straight through Donald Trump. DeSantis used his solo CNN town hall Tuesday to railroad Trump, who’s dominating polls in Iowa and nationally.

DeSantis said Trump “set the stage” for rising inflation today, adding that his economic approach to COVID was “mishandled dramatically.”

“Shutting down the country was a huge mistake, printing trillions and trillions of dollars was a huge mistake,” he said.

DeSantis blasted Trump on immigration. “I went to the rallies with Donald Trump,” DeSantis recalled. “He said he was going to build the wall and have Mexico pay for it, and that didn’t happen.”

The Florida governor also accused Trump of “flip-flopping on the right to life” and suggested the six-week abortion ban he signed into law in his state included exceptions for people like Kate Cox, the Texas woman who recently went out of state to access abortion care for a devastating fetal abnormality.

Tuesday night’s town hall certainly wasn’t the first time DeSantis has blasted Trump, but the rapid-fire jabs coupled with an unusual lack of culture-warring DeSantis was notable.

CNN analyst Ana Navarro, a frequent DeSantis detractor, called DeSantis’ Tuesday performance “strangely close to human.”

Will it matter? No. It’s too late. DeSantis might manage a second-place finish in Iowa, but his polling in subsequent contests in New Hampshire and South Carolina is abysmal.

One person who could benefit, however, is President Joe Biden, who is struggling in public opinion polling, particularly on the issue of the economy at this early juncture. A clip of a Republican reminding voters about the economic mess Biden inherited could yield dividends down the road with an electorate that appears to have collective amnesia about the dire state of the country when Biden took over.  

And with any luck, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley got the same memo DeSantis did and will be taking her own shots at the Republican front-runner with increasing ferocity over the coming months.

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