Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is making waves within the state’s political electorate. Notably, DeSantis has been critiquing former President Donald Trump’s domestic policies in both direct and subtle ways. Critics of the Republican governor say such criticism is a tough sell in the Grand Old Party (GOP), as most of the state’s members and party leaders are still staunchly loyal to Trump’s legacy.
DeSantis, however, is unwilling to toe the Trump line, even within his own party. In an April town hall meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, DeSantis vehemently disagreed with Trump’s suggestion that immigration can be “realigned” in the state. He stated, “I said, ‘No, that’s not something we’re doing in Florida. We’re not changing our policies.”
The governor also broke from the former president’s actions to delay stimulus payments for unemployed Americans during the pandemic. He has consistently been critical of the lack of federal aid and assistance. “I understand that the gridlock in Washington has been looking out for our citizens. That’s why I stepped in,’’ he said at a press conference last May.
Furthermore, DeSantis publicly admitted to having “issues” with the 45th president over his time at the White House. He noted, “Look, I mean, we didn’t agree on every issue. Was there some issues where we had friction? Yeah, I think that’s pretty well known. But, you know, I think, I think overall the relationship was pretty good.”
DeSantis’ stance has won him the admiration of many Florida residents. At the same time, he is facing strong pushback from remaining Republican supporters of Donald Trump. For example, when DeSantis criticized Trump’s stance on immigration, conservative pundits blasted him for “biting the hand that feeds” him.
Ron DeSantis is in a delicate situation. His willingness to diverge from the party’s line stands out in Trump’s GOP, but it could be his saving grace. The governor could swing undecided voters in Florida who are still feeling the effects of the Trump administration. All eyes are on DeSantis to see if this tough sell can win him another gubernatorial term in 2026.