On Wednesday morning ahead of Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) 2024 presidential announcement with Twitter owner Elon Musk, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC lambasted DeSantis from the left and touted former President Trump’s attacks, all in an attempt to bury DeSantis before he officially enters the race.
CBS chief campaign and elections correspondent Robert Costa — whose stock rose in the last few years thanks to feeding the Trump Show and culminated in a book with Bob Woodward — painted a picture on CBS Mornings that DeSantis’s campaign is already on death’s door: “Our latest polling shows Governor DeSantis trailing former President Donald Trump by more than 30 points. The question now is can he close that gap. But doing so will not be easy.”
Just for emphasis, CBS made sure to re-up that line in the “Eye Opener” for the show’s second hour.
Costa explained that DeSantis plans to “play off his combative politics alongside the tech billionaire, casting himself as a fellow culture warrior on a platform his biggest rival embraced as President” even though the Florida governor “is now playing catch-up.”
“Former President Donald Trump is firmly atop the polls. Despite several legal challenges looming over his candidacy, Trump has charged ahead after a CNN town hall earlier this month..And is forcing DeSantis to fend off repeated attacks,” Costa bragged.
Only adding the qualifier that DeSantis “is standing his ground,” Costa went back to bashing DeSantis, citing both Democratic and Republican opposition:
DeSantis, popular with many Republicans for his conservative policies, has come under criticism even from some in his own party over a six-week abortion ban he signed into law, and the NAACP has issued a travel advisory for Florida, warning recent legislation is openly hostile toward African Americans.
Over on Disney-owned ABC, Good Morning America had chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl on the case.
Karl — who cashed in on the Trump hysteria with two New York Times bestsellers about Trump (here and here) and recently announced plans for a third — made sure to downplay DeSantis’s unique launch: “But DeSantis’s campaign team says the official statement will come with an audio-only discussion on Twitter with Elon Musk. The first campaign appearance not planned until next week[.]”
Noting DeSantis has already made stops in early-voting states, Karl jabbed the Florida governor as having spent time in Iowa and New Hampshire “trying the person-to-person campaigning he is not known for” and, on a trip overseas, “he awkwardly avoided questions about running for president.”
Likely fearful of losing his money spigot, Karl again attacked: “His challenge now is to try to find a way to beat Trump without alienating Trump supporters. In his first campaign for governor, DeSantis ran as a clone of Donald Trump.”
Karl even closed with the Trump team’s response and how “Trump has already spent millions of dollars on television ads attacking DeSantis” to the point of “having spent more money attacking DeSantis than they spent in the entire 2022 midterm cycle supporting Republican congressional candidates.”
NBC’s Today was least hostile, due in large part to correspondent Dasha Burns. Across her two reports on DeSantis, this was the only sense of hostility:
DeSantis has faced some blowback over his governing style, including his ongoing feud with one of Florida’s largest employers and revenue generators, Disney, which just scrapped a billion dollar plan to relocate 2,000 workers to the state. And even before getting into the race, DeSantis has been a favorite Trump target.
Though they tried to couch their thoughts in the fact that voters won’t go the polls for months and the general election is 75 weeks away (click “expand”):
JACKSON: This is not without risk, Savannah. I mean, this is unpredictable. It is an unpredictable setting. There is a possibility that DeSantis may end up upstaged by Elon Musk. That’s out there. And it is a platform — right — that Donald Trump used to launch himself to the presidential Now here you have DeSantis looking to co-opt this for his own purposes.
GUTHRIE: Let’s talk about — let’s talk, Hallie, where the race is because right after those disappointing midterms for Republicans that some in the kind of political classes were blaming on Donald Trump, DeSantis was looking pretty good in the polls. But since that time, he’s actually been in a downward trajectory and Trump has been on the rise.
JACKSON: Yeah. As they sort of say in the world of politics, Savannah, his altitude has descended. And you see it here, right, where he was in April compared to where he was back in February. Over the spring, Donald Trump has gone up in polling. Ron DeSantis has gone down in polling. You see that in some of the most recent numbers. 49 percent for Trump. 21 percent for DeSantis. Now, he is the only other Republican at the moment who is registering at at least that level. And folks that I talk to close to him brush this off, pointing out it is a long campaign. It is not unexpected, necessarily. Obviously, I’m sure they want the numbers to be better than where they are. But keep in mind, we don’t even have the full Republican field yet, Savannah...We haven’t hit the first debate. As you said, 75 weeks until election day. We got a ways to go.
GUTHRIE: 75 weeks, but who’s counting, Hallie?
The liberal media showing their desire to quash DeSantis and keep their Trump-obsessed grift operations alive was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Allstate (on ABC), Ashley Homestore, and Ensure (on NBC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcripts from May 24, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).