On Tuesday morning the New York Times alerted readers to a notable development in the Republican presidential primary. “Nikki Haley and Tim Scott shift their tone, showing a new openness to criticizing Trump,” the paper reported.
Four days after the frontrunner was indicted by the Justice Department on 37 felony charges, it counts as major news that two challengers are willing to express mild, qualified disapproval of his conduct.
And that’s more than one can say for the leading contender. Ron DeSantis’ deepest thought about the indictment so far has been to complain that he would have been punished severely as a congressman if he had mishandled classified information as irresponsibly as … Hillary Clinton did. “Is there a different standard for a Democratic secretary of state versus a former Republican president?” he wondered, riding to the defense of a man who’s been insulting him every day for months and is leading him by 35 points in the polls.
Semafor reporter Benjy Sarlin captured the vibe.