DeSantis Inches Into the Arena

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa voters on March 10 in Des Moine. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Happy Wednesday! Pro-tip: If your boss just lost reelection by an embarrassing margin, don’t endorse her would-be successor. Learn from Chicago’s chief labor negotiator Jim Franczek, who has worked for five consecutive mayors but is now reportedly getting the boot from Lori Lightfoot. “Sources said a vacationing Lightfoot called Franczek on Monday and summarily fired him for doing a lengthy interview on a Chicago Sun Times podcast where he essentially endorsed Paul Vallas over Brandon Johnson in the April 4 mayoral runoff,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Up to Speed

  • Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin confirmed he won’t challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in 2024, telling the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bill Glauber that he “would be bored as a senator.” Walker said he plans to stay on board as president of the Young America’s Foundation through 2025. But the 55-year-old 2016 presidential candidate maintains he’s open to another presidential run. “I’m a quarter-century younger than Joe Biden, so I’ve got plenty of time,” Walker told the New York Times last week. “But not in ’24.”
  • Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the state constitution guarantees a “limited right” to an abortion if the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman due to a condition she already has or is “likely to suffer from during the pregnancy.” According to the court’s majority, “Requiring one to wait until there is a medical emergency would further endanger the life of the pregnant woman and does not serve a compelling state interest.” But Oklahoma’s highest court court notably declined to weigh in on elective abortions, which were outlawed in the state last summer after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade

DeSantis Takes His First Shots Against Trump

Since last year’s midterms, Ron DeSantis has kept a poker face while Donald Trump pummeled his personal life, his voting record, and his supposed disloyalty to Trump himself and to the MAGA agenda. There were two apparent rationales to this: DeSantis was studiously avoiding discussing the possibility of running for president—he’d just won reelection, after all—and he didn’t want to let Trump pull him down into the mud. But the one-way war couldn’t last forever. This week, DeSantis has inched into the arena for the first time, taking his first guarded shots at Trump and suggesting more openly than ever that he’s thinking of running to take on President Joe Biden.

The opening shot, as we noted Monday, came in response to the news of Trump’s possible forthcoming indictment in New York over alleged hush money payments to porn performer Stormy Daniels. DeSantis denounced the prosecutor who may bring the charge but also went out of his way to dwell on Trump’s alleged misdeeds: “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I can’t speak to that.”

DeSantis went further in a Fox Nation interview with Piers Morgan, excerpts of which were published by the New York Post Tuesday night. Asked to cite differences between himself and Trump, DeSantis brought up the former president’s reliance during the pandemic on Anthony Fauci, then the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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