Writing in New York magazine, Jonathan Chait offered a fascinating alternative to the widely-held theory that the former president will attempt to divide and destroy the Republican party if he isn’t nominated to run as its next president.
Chait explained: ‘What interests would Trump have in common with DeSantis? For one thing, DeSantis could offer Trump legal protection — either pardons or immunity from additional prosecution.’
The former president is currently facing multiple criminal probes, although he denies wrongdoing and has yet to be charged with any crimes.
FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club in West Palm Beach, Florida in August over claims he was illegally storing classified materials there.
The Department of Justice is now said to be taking an interest into Trump’s alleged involvement in stoking the January 6 riots.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence is considering helping the DoJ with its inquiries.
New York magazine journalist Jonathan Chait predicts Donald Trump (left) will endorse Ron DeSantis (right) if the Florida governor beats him to the 2024 presidential nomination (Trump and DeSantis are pictured together in November 2019)
Trump also faces a New York investigation into his tax affairs, and recently lost his final-ditch bit to prevent prosecutors from obtaining his returns.
Although Trump and DeSantis have clashed in recent weeks, Chait went on to assert that Trump is ultimately a pragmatist who’ll do whatever is best for his own interests.
He highlighted DeSantis’ considerable fundraising prowess, and said Trump may also be hoping for a hefty financial payment in return for backing DeSantis.
And while relations between former friends Trump and DeSantis are currently frosty, Chait said there’s past evidence of Trump making-up with sworn enemies.
He cites the examples of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Both clashed with Trump while seeking the 2016 presidential nomination.
Trump famously implied Cruz’s Heidi was ugly – but the pair later made up, with Texas Senator Cruz now a staunch Trump defender.
DeSantis could offer Trump protection from any charges resulting in the FBI’s raid of his Mar-a-Lago country club, which resulted in the discovery of classified documents that should never have been removed from federal government property, it is claimed
DeSantis could also offer Trump protection from prosecution over the January 6 riots. The Department of Justice is on the verge of probing Trump’s involvement
Chait also suggested that Trump will always hate Joe Biden more than DeSantis, and that he’ll be happy to back the latter in the hopes of crushing Biden’s 2024 re-election hopes.
DeSantis is the GOP’s golden boy in the wake of the midterm elections earlier this month.
He won re-election in Florida by 20 points, and appears to have turned a state that was once purple deep red.
The governor – who is only 45 – is seen by many Republicans as a presidential candidate who can push policies popularized by Trump, but without the former president’s divisive personality.
Many Trump loyalists performed surprisingly-poorly in the midterms, further suggesting the ex-president’s popularity may be on the wane.
Like DeSantis, they stoked culture war tension on issues concerning race and gender in a bid to energize voters.
But it was likely DeSantis’ track record as a capable lawmaker – with his handling of Hurricane Ian and COVID lockdowns both applauded – that strengthened his grip on the Sunshine State.
DeSantis is also widely-regarded as a nightmare candidate for the Democrat party to have to face-off against.
Picking Trump to stand would send voters who hate the former president flocking back to polling stations in droves, and could defeat him again.
But DeSantis has none of that baggage. He is also far younger and more verbally nimble than Biden.
Trump announced his candidacy for 2024 last week, but no such announcement has been made.
DeSantis is under no obligation to announce his attention to run until much closer to polling day.