Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may want to snatch the 2024 Republican nomination from Donald Trump’s grasp, but he seems incapable of landing punches even when they’re handed to him on a golden platter.
On Friday, the Justice Department unsealed a scathing criminal indictment that included 37 charges against the former president related to his post-presidency stockpiling of classified documents. Charges included 31 counts of “willful retention of national defense information” against Trump, as well as various other charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing a document in a federal investigation, and scheme to conceal. The full indictment can be read here.
Like many Republicans, DeSantis jumped to Trump’s defense.
“Our founding fathers would have absolutely predicted the weaponization that we’ve seen with these organizations, particularly [the Department of] Justice and the FBI,” DeSantis said during a Friday speech in North Carolina.
“Is there a different standard for a Democrat Secretary of State vs. a former Republican President?” DeSantis asked, pointing to allegations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of government emails constituted criminal conduct.
“There needs to be one standard of justice in this country. Let’s enforce it on everybody,” DeSantis added, “you can’t have one faction of society weaponizing the power of the state against factions that it doesn’t like.”
On Thursday, when news of the indictment’s existence first broke, DeSantis posted a similar sentiment on Twitter.
“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society,” he wrote. “Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter? The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.”
While the Florida governor feels he needs to walk on tip-toes to avoid estranging Trump’s devoted supporters, it’s quite clear the former president in no way plans to reciprocate that level of grace.
Trump has leveled dig after dig against DeSantis, who he singled out as his principal 2024 nemesis even before the governor entered the race. His attacks and plans to humiliate DeSantis on the national stage have escalated to unthinkable levels of absurdity. As previously reported by Rolling Stone, some of Trump’s advisors have been attempting to goad the former president into a literal dick-measuring contest against DeSantis. One source referred to the plan as a “small-dick PsyOp.”