According to a new report by right-of-center publication RealClearPolitics, Trump’s campaign has informed conservative operatives that anyone who works for the Florida governor will be blackballed.
According to sources with direct knowledge of the edict, Justin Caporale, who helps lead the advance team for the former president, has said that anyone who staffed a recent DeSantis book tour will be considered “persona non grata.” A top Trump ally was more comprehensive, telling RealClearPolitics that the prohibition would apply to more than just the junior aides tasked with setting up folding chairs and hanging banners.
“It’s a time for choosing,” the source close to the former president said. “If you work for Ron DeSantis’ presidential race, you will not work for the Trump campaign or in the Trump White House.”
The threat comes as Trump enjoys a commanding lead in the 2024 GOP presidential primary field. However, despite DeSantis’ undeclared status, the Florida Republican has easily cruised to second place in most 2024 hypothetical matchups, causing concern within Trump’s camp.
According to a recent poll reported by Axios, DeSantis is leading Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head primary race in Iowa and tied in New Hampshire.
Both DeSantis and Trump received 39 percent of support from respondents in a head-to-head primary election in New Hampshire.
When asked which GOP candidate is better suited to defeat President Biden, 48 percent of New Hampshire voters said DeSantis, while 46 percent said Trump.
Fifty-four percent of respondents in Iowa view DeSantis as the better candidate to take on Biden, compared to 44 percent who chose Trump.
The split turned personal for Trump when DeSantis responded to Trump’s possible indictment, telling reporters he had “no interest” in inserting himself into “some type of manufactured circus by some Soros DA.” (RELATED: Florida Governor Breaks Silence on Potential Trump Arrest)
“I’ve seen rumors swirl. I have not seen any facts yet, and so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said DeSantis. “But I do know this: The Manhattan district attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor and so he, like other Soros-funded prosecutors, they weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety.”
Trump is known to direct his ire toward conservatives he deems disloyal. Following Trump’s second impeachment trial he pledged to support primary candidates focused on ousting Republican lawmakers who voted alongside Democrats.
“Even after the most effective Republican presidency, Trump is bringing back the loyalty test,” the organizer said. “Not loyalty to the country – but for a single candidate. It’s the American people who will ultimately decide who is the next president and many grassroots see through these desperate pleas for allegiance and instead wish there was a substantive debate about the future of our great country.”
Other sources close to Trump say the Florida governor forced his hand by refusing to defend the former president.
“It is very bad politics. This is a critical moment,” a prominent Republican operative said of the DeSantis decision not to rally to Trump’s defense. “I don’t know of any Republican voter that feels okay about what’s happening with President Trump.” The looming indictment, they added, was “the only thing that matters.”
The news comes after Trump attacked DeSantis during a campaign rally in Texas over the weekend.
A lengthy clip flagged by Mediaite showed the former president’s attacks not landing well with the crowd, who grew mostly silent. “Compared to how Trump’s crowd normally reacts to his bits, the reaction to his mocking DeSantis was practically dead air,” the report said.