In an interview with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro Mr. DeSantis criticized Mr. Trump as the G.O.P. The front-runner is accused of "moving to the left" on immigration and criminal justice issues after winning over party supporters in 2015 and 2016.
He promised to repeal the First Step Act. This was a bipartisan criminal law measure that Mr. Trump signed into law in 2018. It expanded early release programs and modified sentencing, including mandatory minimum sentences.
DeSantis stated that 'he enacted a law, which is essentially a jailbreak legislation'. It has let dangerous criminals out of jail who have now committed new crimes and hurt many people.
The New York Times reported in 2017 that DeSantis, his allies, and Mr. Trump saw the criminal justice act, which Mr. Trump had signed on the advice of Jared Kushner, as a political weakness. Mr. DeSantis indicated that he would use the bill to help him win the nomination. The bill is not popular with some of Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters.
DeSantis may find it difficult to criticize Mr. Trump for the First Step Act. Trump's allies have tried to emphasize that Mr. DeSantis voted in favor of the original version of the bill while he was a member of Congress.
Steven Cheung said that Ron DeSanctimonious, the Swampy Politician, now claims he had voted in favor of it before voting against it. He sounds exactly like John Kerry. What a fake! He cannot run from his embarrassing, disastrous and low-energy announcement. He is a rookie who makes unforced mistakes.
(Mr. DeSantis’s allies point out that the version of bill that he voted on looked very different and that the final form passed after he left the House.
When Mr. Shapiro questioned Mr. DeSantis on Mr. Trump’s recent criticisms that crime in Florida, where the former president adopted, had increased under his watch, Mr. DeSantis reacted angrily and claimed Mr. Trump’s policies had undermined laws and order.
Mr. DeSantis intensified his attacks against his former ally whom he avoided criticizing for months. This was less than 48 hrs after he entered his race through a bumpy twitter event.
As Mr. DeSantis appears to move to the right in issues such as crime, his internal campaign strategy is becoming more apparent.
According to an audio recording leaked by Florida Politics, at a fund-raising event in Miami, Mr. DeSantis’ top campaign staff were bombarded with questions from donors about his policies and how to present them to other Republicans.
A donor asked about the shift to the right. An official of a campaign responded that 'we just have to win a primaries to be in general.
Donors and officials discussed also how to approach Republicans who support abortion. (Mr. DeSantis signed a six week abortion ban in Florida last month, with limited exceptions. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has been reluctant to support a national ban.
One staff member gave a possible answer.
'Abortion in Florida is legal, safe and rare,' he declared, quoting a phrase that was coined by the former Democrat president Bill Clinton. He added, 'It's not banned.' It is restricted.
In an interview with Shapiro, Mr. DeSantis tried to portray himself as unwavering in his stance on illegal immigration. He said that Mr. Trump attacked him because he had opposed amnesty laws while he was in Congress.
He also criticized Mr. Trump's administration for its handling of the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, particularly the influence of Dr. Fauci. Fauci is a long-time infectious disease expert who has been the face of federal government pandemic response.
Dr. Fauci has been the target of Republican attacks on issues such as remote learning, stay at home orders, and vaccine mandates.
DeSantis stated that he responded by elevating Anthony Fauci. He then handed the reins to Dr. Fauci. I believe this had terrible consequences for the United States. I was the first person in this country to fight back against Fauci. We were against him at every turn.
He claimed that Dr. Fauci was wrongly terminated, but Mr. Trump has honored him.
DeSantis stated that the fact that Donald Trump awarded Anthony Fauci with a presidential commendation, on Trump's final day in office was a blow to millions of Americans who were hurt by Fauci's locking downs.
In a post he made on his Truth Social platform a day earlier, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. DeSantis for Florida's response. He claimed that former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York had done a better job than Mr. DeSantis in limiting the loss of lives to the virus. Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York governor, had done better than Mr. DeSantis in limiting the deaths caused by the virus.
DeSantis called Mr. Trump's statement'very bizarre', and suggested that he would double-down on his actions in the event of another pandemic.