Donald Trump is going nuclear over the midterms.
It’s not that Democrats overwhelmingly beat Republicans, but it was a lot closer than everyone expected. And a lot of the losses came from MAGA candidates the former POTUS had personally endorsed. It’s apparently got the GOP talking not-so-secretly about finally dumping Trump altogether.
But there are a few things we know 100% about Donald Trump. Like, you should always get paid upfront for any work you do for him. And he isn’t going away without a fight. Heck, he refused to even acknowledge losing the 2020 election! So now that it looks increasingly like Republicans are ready to rally around his former flunky Ron DeSantis instead of him, Trump is going apes**t on Truth Social, taking wild swings at everyone in the party. It’s starting to look like this is going to be a Republican Civil War. And Trump’s base are folks who LOVE them some Civil War talk.
But one of Trump’s takedowns of the Florida governor he’s now dubbed “Ron DeSanctimonious” may backfire in a big way — because it kiiiiinda sounds like he’s admitting to what may be a crime… (Again, that is.)
First he blasted DeSantis as originally drafting completely on Trump’s name, which is true enough — seriously, that ad is so cringe. Alright, we’ll play it again…
But then he took it a step further, posting on Thursday:
“I was all in for Ron, and he beat Gillum, but after the Race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day, along with now-Senator Rick Scott, I sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys, and the ballot theft immediately ended, just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win. I stopped his Election from being stolen.”
OK, OK, but… WHAT?!?
He’s saying he stopped the election from being stolen. Does that sound familiar? It’s exactly what he was trying to do in 2020 when he called up election officials asking them to “find” the number of votes he needed to win. It was all a big smokescreen of course, as official after official — mostly Republican btw — assured him there was no voter fraud, no irregularity. It’s been his Big Lie ever since the election, claiming it was “stolen” from him. And he wasn’t trying to rig it, he was trying to “stop the steal.” What he calls “the corrupt Election process” is just any election process when it doesn’t go his way.
OK, so when he says that’s what he successfully did in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race, it really sounds like what he’s saying is that he interceded using the power of the presidency to stop the vote count so that DeSantis would win. Which, if true, WOW.
DeSantis beat opponent Andrew Gillum by just over 31,000 votes. That may not sound like a lot, but we’re talking 4,076,186 to 4,043,723. That’s 49.6% to 49.2%. If Trump really did successfully stop the count early as he was trying to do in some states during his own election — it would be one of the most serious crimes he’s been accused of. And man, that is saying something.
Lawyers and pundits on Twitter immediately called attention to it, calling on the Department of Justice to look into his claims. But it isn’t just political commentators whose alarm bells went off.
Gillum himself is currently facing prosecution for his own corruption scandal. And his lawyers seized on Trump’s statement right away — even citing it in a motion filed Friday in federal court. They wrote:
“Former President Trump’s posts raise serious questions about how exactly Trump ‘fixed’ DeSantis’ campaign and what Trump directed the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to do, and whether there is any connection to the FBI’s investigation and later prosecution of Gillum.”
He did say he “sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys.” This is probably just grasping at straws from another politician facing charges. But they aren’t wrong about the implications of Trump’s claim being serious as all hell.
This is a total scorched earth tactic on Trump’s part. Sure, it calls out DeSantis as an illegitimate governor who needed his intervention. But it also may have pointed to a crime no one ever even knew happened! The question becomes, as Republicans begin to distance themselves more and more from Trump, what else will he pull out of his back pocket? What other scandals does he know about? What else does he have on these guys? Will it be true? And will it be enough to burn the party down rather than let them give him the boot??