The DeSantis Soft Bois Can Dish It, But Can’t Take It
Groomer slander for thee, but not for me.
You are not going to believe what happened, dear reader.
In a shocking breach of decorum, the former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, issued a social media post slandering a political rival in deeply personal terms. And get this—he might have even exaggerated the details of the offense!
In other words . . . Trump behaved in the exact same manner as he always has, since thrusting himself onto the tabloid scene as America’s most lovable real estate nepo baby.
But for some MAGA observers there is one thing startlingly new-ish about the former president’s latest broadside. It’s his target: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the prized stalking horse of the conservative infotainment industrial complex.
Oh my stars and garters.
If you missed it, Trump’s latest attack featured a picture in which DeSantis is shown drinking with women who appear younger than him and are allegedly his students. One included the caption “Here is Ron DeSanctimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.” In the other the post, the user Trump is “regeeting” says “having drinks with underage girls and cuddling with them certainly look pretty gross and ephebophiliaesque.”
You have seen this move before: Remember when Trump threatened to reveal Ted Cruz’s supposed affairs? When he accused Ben Carson of being a child molester? When he falsely claimed that Jeb liked “Mexican illegals” because his wife is one? When he alleged that Mika Brzezinski was bleeding from her face after plastic surgery? When he retweeted someone who used a #PedoBiden hashtag? Etc. Etc. Etc.
And yet an array of people who gleefully supported Trump for president—twice!—despite this decades-long pattern of behavior are now Very Concerned about his nastiness.
Byron York, the Washington Examiner’s saddest Trump lickspittle, lamented that Trump is going “lower and lower.” Former editor for Trump fan-blog American Greatness Pedro Gonzalez is now under the impression that his one-time hero is “unserious” and acting based on his “insecurities.” (You don’t say!) Claremonster and miniature tough boi Dave Reaboi called it bottom-feeder stuff.
To be fair, Reaboi may or may not be paid to tweet for Hungary, “anti-Qatari interests”, and Ron DeSantis—so this may be work-product and not his genuine opinion. But in general, this sentiment seems to be shared everywhere on the right from National Review to the Daily Wire.
Yet the most trenchant rebuke of Trump’s antics came from DeSantis himself, who lashed out at a press conference saying “I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans.”
And therein lies the rub.
DeSantis and his stans aren’t upset that the former president issued an exaggerated personal attack unbecoming of his status. Had Trump dredged up an old drinking photo of Eric Swalwell or Chuck Schumer or a pic of Mitt Romney with a milk mustache cavorting with younger women, and made unfounded claims targeting them with Qanon dog whistles about ephebophilia—well! That would be one thing. He might even get some retweets about how such bon mots, are, to be sure, indecorous—but can be understood as merely being the middle finger the elites deserve.
You see Conservatism Inc. is only upset because Trump smeared their precious. The guy they all hope and pray will lead them into a glorious post-Trump future, filled with corporate tax cuts, lib owning, and election victories.
This type of hypocrisy about Mr. Trump’s behavior is well worn. Dog bites man.
But what’s particularly galling is the fact that one of the only GOP politicians who has been as wanton in making baseless accusations of pedophilia is Ron DeSantis himself.
And DeSantis’ accusations haven’t even been limited to political opponents! He goes after innocent, regular folks just minding their own business, too. Not to mention public servants.
Recall that DeSantis’ office accused not just every gay teacher in his state of being a groomer, but went so far as to claim that anyone who opposed his efforts to ban teachers from acknowledging that gay families exist was themselves a pedophile sympathizer.
“If you’re against the anti-Grooming bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children,” his spokesperson Christina Pushaw tweeted. That was not a DeSantis “ally” or Twitter rando. It’s the woman he pays to speak on his behalf, and who was apparently given the okay to double-down in interviews about the bill.
There’s more. DeSantis promoted a false claim that a political rival “protected a sexual predator for years.” He offered the governor’s mansion as a safe space for Chaya Raichik, founder of LibsofTiktok—a social media feed whose entire raison d’etre is making accusations of pedophilia against random LGBTQ+ individuals.
None of these smears or tactics were met with outrage from the conservative media. Byron York didn’t lament that DeSantis’s office was going “lower and lower.” The Natcons didn’t tug their furry chins about this being “bottom-feeder stuff.”
The opposite, in fact. These moves proved that DeSantis was a fighter!
These faux tough guys decided that literally anyone in America can be smeared as a groomer: teachers, drag performers, children’s hospital employees, anyone. And that’s fair game. But the moment Trump suggests DeSantis might have done something untoward, they flop on the ground like French soccer players begging for a red card.
It’s hypocritical, it’s cruel, it’s pathetic. But most importantly: It’s fucking weak.
If anyone should be forced to weather some groomer accusations, it’s the guy whose office mainstreamed the schtick.
So either clean up the act, or buck up Ronbois.
What goes around, comes around.
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