Is Mr. DeSantis afraid of Mr. Trump? Probably. Most Republican officials are. The more pertinent question is whether Mr. Trump is at all afraid of Mr. DeSantis. If not, maybe he should be.
Obviously the governor isn’t a natural showman like Mr. Trump. Few are. That said, Mr. DeSantis has proved a solid practitioner of Trumpian theater. His cheeky campaign ad from 2018 in which he urges his young daughter to “build the wall” with cardboard bricks was a classic own-the-libs provocation. More recently, in praising the state law targeting social media companies, Mr. DeSantis accused Big Tech of treating Mr. Trump as a bigger villain than Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But Florida isn’t a red enough state for its governor to completely write off nonconservatives. So when the occasion suits him, Mr. DeSantis employs a slightly lighter touch. Early in his tenure, he made some moderate appointments to his administration and supported policies that didn’t fit the MAGA mold. His first week in office, he rolled out a plan to clean up Florida’s waters and address the effects of climate change.