It’s a path rife with risk—and questions that don’t have answers yet … but will. Can DeSantis ride another Trump wave if Trump wins again November? Can he weather a Trump loss and the almost certain public personal consequences well enough to spin out of a (hopefully) post-vaccine wake of the pandemic and employ the longer runway that he has and take advantage of being a Republican on the ballot in the first clap-back midterms of a Joe Biden-guided Democratic administration? Can DeSantis, in other words, not just use Trump but have used Trump, and emerge on the other side of this transactional relationship still politically viable or even newly ascendant? Can he get over in essence the Glen Arven oak tree of the next two months, or the next two years, or the two years after that, and tap in for par or better? The answer on the golf course: DeSantis, according to Bayliss, birdied the hole.
But still: “If Trump truly believes that DeSantis fucking this up is going to cost him Florida,” Steele said, “he’s gonna stick the knife in the front.”
“He could end up drumming DeSantis in the skull,” said a Republican consultant. “He can destroy Ron DeSantis.”
For now, though, it’s in the best interest of both parties to put forth a show of no daylight.