The past few days have been interesting for a certain Florida governor, Trump bugaboo, and newly-published author. Ron DeSantis is off on his book tour, laying out the case for why he is the perfect patriot for these troubled times—and, in the tradition of politicians publishing conveniently-timed memoirs, perhaps exploring the hunger for his presidential candidacy.
It’s been well-noted that DeSantis has caught the eye of the donor class, and sits on a post-reelection $100 million war chest. What caught my eye, however, is the latest wave of political figures who have publicly indicated their inclination for DeSantis, presumably over Trump. Over the weekend, libertarian Republican rogues Reps. Thomas Massie and Chip Roy—the latter a member of the so-called Taliban 20 that neutered Kevin McCarthy’s powers earlier this year—presented themselves at a DeSantis dinner in West Palm Beach. Roy, in particular, has been a vocal DeSantis defender ever since Trump began calling him “DeSanctimonious” last year. “I believe Ron DeSantis is a great governor and I don’t give two shits what any current or former Congress-critters… or Presidents… think about him,” he said on Twitter last November. (Massie, too, recently praised DeSantis as “the best governor in the United States, and there is no second.”)
Those endorsements are highly meaningful at a time when formerly pro-Trump, now Trump-fatigued Republicans are still hesitant to publicly throw in with Team DeSantis. Every conservative leader who breaks rank to support the MAGA upstart lowers the pain threshold for those who follow. “Conservative stalwarts such as Roy and Massie endorsing Governor DeSantis is major,” a conservative activist told me, observing that Roy was a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus. “Their stature has only grown since the vote for Speaker and it’s yet another indication that the governor is securing serious support from highly visible conservatives—not to mention the base at large.”