DeSantis Jabs at Trump’s Legal Trouble as He Resets His Campaign

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Two days after former President Donald J. Trump used a derogatory nickname to describe Ron DeSantis in front of a crowd of Iowa Republican activists, DeSantis responded by referencing the federal indictment against Trump. DeSantis stated that if Trump had fulfilled his promise to “drain the swamp,” he wouldn’t be facing the current mess he is in. Speaking to reporters after a campaign event in New Hampshire, DeSantis criticized Trump’s use of “juvenile insults” and highlighted why millions of voters will never support him.

In the past, DeSantis has refrained from using Trump’s legal issues against him and instead focused on criticizing the Biden administration. However, as DeSantis tries to revive his struggling campaign by reducing staff and organizing more informal events to compensate for a lack of funds, his comments suggest a departure from his previous cautious approach to the frontrunner in the national polls. Even his own allies have acknowledged that his campaign has lacked a clear message on why voters should choose him over Trump.

This shift in strategy may also be attributed to the changes DeSantis has made in his campaign tactics. Previously, he engaged with voters in controlled environments and kept the press at a distance. However, he now routinely takes questions from both voters and reporters, increasing the likelihood of being asked about Trump, who currently dominates the Republican primary race.

Last week, DeSantis embarked on a bus tour through rural Iowa as part of his campaign reboot. On Friday, he joined a group of other Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, in addressing a dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Iowa. During the event, Trump mockingly referred to DeSantis as “DeSanctis” and boasted about his lead in the polls.

Despite not mentioning Trump in his speech at a barbecue in Rye, New Hampshire, DeSantis answered a voter’s question about his strategy to appeal to Trump supporters. He expressed his belief that many Republicans were open to considering alternatives to Trump, highlighting his own record in Florida and his reliability on policy.

However, some voters, like Hank Bivins, were left unimpressed by DeSantis’s response and felt that he needed to differentiate himself more effectively. Steven Cheung, spokesman for Trump, criticized DeSantis, calling him an inferior version of America First and stating that he could never achieve what Trump did during his administration.

A recent poll from the University of New Hampshire showed Trump leading in the state with 37% of the vote, while DeSantis trailed behind at 23%. However, Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts, noted that DeSantis was making progress in narrowing the gap. He also praised DeSantis for his improvement as a retail politician since he last observed him campaigning in New Hampshire in June, noting that he has become more skilled at connecting with people.

Overall, DeSantis’s recent comments and campaign tactics indicate a shift in his approach towards Trump and a concerted effort to differentiate himself as a viable alternative. As the race continues, DeSantis will face the challenge of convincing voters that he can effectively lead and implement his policies, distinct from Trump’s tenure.

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