(As originally published with bells and whistles, Wed, March 15th 2023, 3:47 PM EDT)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TND) — One of them is officially running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and the other has been considered a possible candidate for well over a year.
Now, for the first time, the tension between former president Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has turned from words into an official complaint.
Trump’s allies are formally accusing DeSantis of violating state ethics and election laws with a “shadow presidential campaign.”
Trump threw his hat into the ring in November, but DeSantis has not said a word or responded to questions about a run for the presidency.
That made for what seemed like a very long silence during the only debate before his reelection last fall.
Democratic candidate Charlie Crist asked DeSantis straight out, “Will you serve a full four-year term if you’re reelected governor of Florida? It’s not a tough question.”
Eventually, DeSantis was rescued by WPEC news anchor Liz Quirantes who stepped in to say, “We did not agree on the candidates asking each other questions.”
“We just finished this election,” DeSantis said a week later. “People just need to chill out a bit on some of this stuff.”
Wednesday, NBC News reported that Make America Great Again Inc. filed a 15-page complaint asking the Florida Commission on Ethics to investigate whether pro-DeSantis super PACs, his “personally lucrative book tour” or his continued fundraising “are unlawful because they serve his personal political objectives, are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office.”
DeSantis is considered Trump’s main rival for their party’s nomination despite being nearly a year away from primaries and caucuses.
It’s widely acknowledged Trump helped DeSantis become governor but there have been disagreements and name-calling since then.
DeSantis said he should’ve spoken out “much louder” against Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump reportedly Trump called DeSantis an ingrate with a “dull personality” who has no realistic chance of beating him if they compete in 2024.
Trump called politicians who wouldn’t reveal whether they got the COVID booster, such as DeSantis, “gutless.”
Meanwhile, Florida’s governor has torn into President Biden in news conference (“Who would you rather have? Ladapo or Fauci?“) after news conference (“Whatever they can do to thumb their nose at Florida“) on national issues such as energy, inflation (“Biden-flation”) and the southern border, and referring to the Biden Administration as the “Brandon Administration.”
He has been a cultural warrior on subjects from freedom to abortion, schools to tech companies, and corporate America to migrants.
And last week, DeSantis took his message — along with his book tour — to Iowa.
Apparently, the GOP supermajority in Florida’s legislature thinks there may be something.
They’ve been considering bills to let DeSantis remain as governor if he runs for president and loses, and controversially regulate what bloggers write about him.
DeSantis, himself, who often ignores mainstream media, has openly discussed making it easier for public figures such as politicians to sue for defamation.
Besides Trump, the only official Republican candidates are Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy.
Last week, NPR officered a long list of other possibilities.
Besides DeSantis, they include Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton. They served as Trump’s vice president, secretary of state, and national security advisor, respectively.
Also, governors and former governors Chris Sununu, Glenn Youngkin, Kristi Noem, and Asa Hutchinson.
And from Congress, Tim Scott and Liz Cheney.
As far as Democrats are concerned, President Joe Biden has not announced a reelection campaign, but he is expected to do so. Self-help author Marianne Williamson has announced she’s running.