There’s no love lost between Donald Trump and Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis whose super PAC, Never Back Down, dropped a campaign ad calling Trump a ‘coward’ when it came gun control – just moments before the former president addressed the NRA in a speech.
The ad calls Trump a ‘gun-grabber’ who has attacked the National Rifle Association.
Both Trump and DeSantis both spoke at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum along with a host of other Republican leaders – although Trump appeared in person in Indiana while DeSantis appeared by video.
The damaging ad accuses Trump of aligning with anti-gun Democrats, naming President Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi.
It opens up with an archive clip of Trump speaking at an earlier NRA event with the narrator stating: ‘Trump promised NRA members he’d have their back. But when Second Amendment rights came under attack, Trump abandoned us and stood with liberal Democrats.’
Never Back Down super PAC, which supports Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, released an ad attacking former President Trump as a ‘gun-grabber’
The ad dropped just moments before for former president addressed the NRA in a speech
The ad then shows clips of Trump supporting gun control measures such as ‘red flag’ laws and working with Democrats including Senator Dianne Feinstein on gun control.
It also likens some of Trump’s past statements on the issue of gun control to what liberals have said, painting him as someone who has abandoned Second Amendment principles.
‘Trump cut and run like a coward,’ the voiceover states, together with an image of a Breitbart headline calling Trump a gun-grabber.
‘Trump the gun-grabber doesn’t deserve a second chance,’ the ad concludes.
The Trump campaign also released a political ad targeting DeSantis, albeit on completely unrelated political issues – but the timing of the Governor’s spot was clearly designed to have maximum impact.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also spoke at the event, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, but virtually
DeSantis PAC’s ad accuses Trump of being a ‘gun grabber’ who aligns with anti-gun Democrats
The ad listed what the NRA saw as betrayals by Trump as it listed various Democrats he sided with
The ad was designed to have maximum impact as it was released just before Trump spoke
Despite this, it’s clear that the rivalry between Trump and DeSantis is heating up as the 2024 primaries draw closer.
DeSantis has not officially announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race yet he is still seen as Trump’s main rival in the GOP primary.
His speeches at various GOP events across the country have resulted in big crowds and record fundraising from supporters urging him to run.
The 44-year-old lawmaker is an exceptional fundraiser with a $110 million war chest.
But $80 million of that is tied to the Sunshine State, and cannot be transferred to a presidential campaign. DeSantis has yet to announce his intentions, although it seems all-but-certain that he will.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has enjoyed a huge polls bump in the wake of his indictment over hush money charges, and subsequent arraignment.
Trump, until recently-seen as an also-ran, has had his campaign turbocharged by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s indictment and is once-again raising huge sums of cash.
Donald Trump has enjoyed a huge polls bump in the wake of his indictment over hush money charges, and subsequent arraignment
Trump, until recently-seen as an also-ran, has had his campaign turbocharged by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s indictment and is once-again raising huge sums of cash
Many grassroots Republicans and independents have also been reminded of the former president’s sheer charisma and scrappiness, which even Democrats concede is a force to be reckoned with.
DeSantis has so far kept many donors at arm’s length while touring the country.
His aloofness is said to have raised doubts about his ability to campaign on a national level among some senior Republicans and engage in ‘grip-and-grin’ schmoozing.
But DeSantis’ defenders point to his competence as a lawmaker, and say the Florida governor has always prioritized hard work and getting results over networking.
When it comes to fundraising, he would be prohibited by law from transferring Florida state-raised dollars into a national presidential campaign.
Any attempts to move the money over to the Never Back Down super PAC would almost certainly raise red flags among campaign finance watchdogs.
DeSantis’s poll numbers look to have have slumped against Trump in recent weeks with 56 percent supporting Trump compared with just 23 percent backing DeSantis.
Although DeSantis’s nine-figure $110million haul sounds impressive, big-dollar fundraising does not always translate to victory.
Donors and strategists cite the examples of former Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida as warnings.
Bush was an early front runner having raised more than $100 million prior to his 2016 run only for his race to fall flat early on.
There are many months before the primaries kick off in early 2024, but DeSantis will need to make a decision before Trump runs away with the GOP nomination for a third time.
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