'Better late than never': Former GOP insider offers 'DeSantis fangirls' some 'Never Trump' advice
There are major differences between hardcore Never Trump conservatives and Republicans who were Donald Trump allies or supporters in the past but are now hoping that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or another Republican will be the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee — a group that includes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, media mogul and Fox News leader Rupert Murdoch, former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and author Ann Coulter.
Never Trumpers like attorney George Conway, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Washington Post columnists George Will and Max Boot and The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson have been consistently scathing in their condemnation of the former president and the MAGA movement. But the Republicans who are now jumping on the “DeSantis for president” bandwagon were among Trump’s defenders or apologists in the past; now, they are supporting DeSantis because they see him as more electable than Trump.
Tim Miller, a former GOP operative who has long been in the Never Trump camp and supported Joe Biden in 2020’s presidential election, addresses the “DeSantis fangirls” in a humorous open letter published by The Bulwark on November 29. Miller’s letter is full of biting sarcasm; he is obviously in no hurry to forgive them for the years they spent as Trump apologists, and Miller believes they have come to the anti-Trump party much too late.
Miller prefaces his open letter by describing the Republicans who are now promoting DeSantis as a possible presidential candidate.
“In 2024, the chosen one will be Gov. Ron DeSantis,” Miller sarcastically writes. “It has thus been decreed by the old-guard members of Conservative Inc. Or at least the ones calculating enough to have survived the MAGA takeover. Rupert has dubbed him DeFuture. Republican hedge fund donors have taken their Trump tax cut and run. National Review is indistinguishable from a DeSantis Fanzine, lavishly extolling his virtues and wagging their finger at anyone who dares challenge their precious. Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire is not any less effusive and is already cashing in on the new bell cow.”
The Never Trumper continues, “To be honest, I understand this calculation. DeSantis is the golden ticket. He’s the one weird trick that will make all their Trump troubles go away without their having to suffer any additional political pain or consequences from having made a deal with the Devil. DeSantis 2024 will let them be members in good standing on the team again. He will eradicate any nagging doubts about whether they were empowering a man who might bring the constitutional republic they claim to love to its knees.”
Miller goes on to offer “residents of DeSantistan” his open letter.
“It’s nice to hear from you,” Miller tells DeSantis supporters. “I notice you have had some harsh words for Mr. Trump of late. You might even think he’s a Bad Orange Man? Concur! So lucky for you to have been awoken from your torpor on this matter at the most convenient time imaginable. Before we get to the meat of my correspondence, I do have to mention that we missed having you on board these past few annums: During the 2016 general election, Impeachment One, the 2020 Republican primary, the 2020 general election, the alarming interregnum, the 2021 Georgia run-off, Impeachment Two, opposing the Trump election deniers in the 2022 midterms, and the recent FBI raid on the former president’s home. Better late than never.”
Miller lists some of the things that, as an “OG” Never Trumper, he will not do if DeSantis runs for president.
Miller tells DeSantis supporters, “I will not be a human shield for Ron to protect him from all the hard, and not so hard, questions about Donald Trump…. I will not give him a pass when he refuses to provide an answer, any answer, about whether or not he thinks Donald Trump’s coup attempt was a good thing or a bad thing…. I will not practice strategic silence while he exhibits every single behavior of enablement and collaboration with the crazy that got us to Donald Trump in the first place…. I will not pretend that he isn’t anti-vaxcurious, didn’t hire an anti-vax surgeon general, and didn’t oversee a spike in COVID deaths after a life-saving vaccine was available.”
When Miller concludes his open letter, it’s obvious that he believes some of DeSantis’ supporters will turn around and support Trump if he is the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee.
“If these terms aren’t amenable because you’d rather have us as foils to curry favor with your MAGA pals —well, that’s fine, too,” Miller tells DeSantis supporters. “And I understand that you have to preserve your viability in case the DeSantis thing doesn’t work out. So, in the meantime, good luck with the fanzine, hope Ron makes the maneuvering easy for ya out there on the trail. Tim.”
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