Above all, Donald Trump is motivated by petty vengeance against slights both real and perceived.
President Donald Trump is privately lashing out at one of his top allies, Ron DeSantis, angrily accusing the Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee of publicly betraying him.
The president has told close associates in recent days that he views DeSantis — who won his Aug. 28 GOP primary thanks to Trump’s strong support — as profoundly disloyal for distancing himself from the president’s assertion that the Hurricane Maria death toll was inflated by Democrats for political purposes.
“Ron DeSantis is committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after such a tragic loss of life. He doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated,” the DeSantis campaign said last week after Trump tweeted that "3000 people did not die” in Puerto Rico.
Trump’s comments unnerved Republicans across Florida, which is home to a burgeoning Puerto Rican population, leading DeSantis and other Republicans — including Senate hopeful Rick Scott — to publicly break with the president’s remark.
DeSantis’s reaction, however, particularly piqued the president. Trump views the former congressman as politically indebted to him, people familiar with the president’s thinking say, because he believes DeSantis owes his electoral success to him. The president has privately maintained that he was correct with his comments about the hurricane’s death toll, and has expressed frustration that DeSantis crossed him on the matter.
Trump’s anger toward DeSantis is rooted in the extraordinary level of political capital he expended on behalf of the former congressman, who was little-known at the time he began his campaign for governor.
The president — over the wishes of some advisers — endorsed DeSantis in the primary, flew down to the state to campaign with him and lavished him with praise on Twitter. DeSantis, in turn, tied himself closely to Trump, at one point even running a TV ad which featured his infant child wearing a MAGA outfit.
One person close to the president described the situation as a “divorce.” At the moment, Trump has no plans to travel to Florida to campaign for DeSantis in the November general election, according to two GOP officials familiar with the president’s schedule.
You will lie for Dear Leader, or you will be destroyed by him. Dear Leader's truth is the only truth. The Faithful Real Americans believe Dear Leader's truth, even when it is a lie.
Twenty-four percent of Americans believe that Hurricane Maria caused many fewer than 3,000 deaths, the survey finds, while 43 percent say the 3,000 figure is about right. Another third say they’re not sure.
Different respondents to the poll saw different versions of the question. Half of those surveyed were told that the Puerto Rican government had reported a death toll of 2,975 based on the results of an official study, and that Trump had rejected those numbers without offering any evidence that the figure was incorrect. The other half were simply asked for their estimation of the death toll, without any additional context.
The results among both groups, however, were nearly identical ― not only as a whole, but also when broken down along political lines. In both groups, more than 80 percent of Hillary Clinton voters accepted the official tally, but only about a tenth of Trump voters did.
Less than ten percent of Trump voters believe nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico. Less than ten percent of these cultists believe thousands of Americans died.
For the rest, there is only Trump.