More Republicans turn on Ron DeSantis

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Members of the Florida GOP recently spoke out about their frustrations with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), and now, as it becomes increasingly clear DeSantis will soon announce a presidential run, more Republicans are abandoning ship.

According to the New York Times, one powerful DeSantis backer – billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin – may be waffling on whether he will throw his support behind the anti-LGBTQ+ governor in his likely run for president.

Griffin has reportedly “taken issue in private conversations with some of Mr. DeSantis’s policy moves and pronouncements,” according to sources close to him. The sources said Griffin was worried by DeSantis’s proclamation minimizing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is also upset by Florida’s six-week abortion ban.

Griffin’s spokesperson, Zia Ahmed, would not say what the billionaire was thinking about in regard to the presidential race, only that “Ken may not agree with all of the governor’s policies, but he appreciates all that the governor has done to make Florida one of the most attractive states to live and work in America.”

Another billionaire Republican donor, Thomas Peterffy, recently told the Financial Times that he has put his support of DeSantis “on hold.”

“Because of his stance on abortion and book banning… myself, and a bunch of friends, are holding our powder dry.”

Peterffy added that the governor seems to have “lost some momentum” and is no longer as well positioned to beat Trump as he once was.

“I am more reluctant to back him. We are waiting to see who among the primary candidates is most likely to be able to win the general, and then put all of our firepower behind them.”

But unlike most Republicans critiquing DeSantis, Peterffy did emphasize his support for the governor in his battle with Disney, despite the fact that this feud is what has led other Republicans to reconsider what party DeSantis even belongs to.

Last week, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) harshly criticized DeSantis’s endless vendetta against the House of Mouse. DeSantis has been working to punish the entertainment company ever since it expressed opposition to Florida’s infamous Don’t Say Gay law.

“As a conservative, the job of government is… to stay out of the business of business,” Christie told Steve Clemons of Semafor. “I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative based on his actions towards Disney. Where are we headed here now that if you express disagreement in this country the government is allowed to punish you?”

He added, “That’s not the guy I want sitting across from President Xi and negotiating our next agreement with China, or sitting across from Putin and trying to resolve what’s happening in Ukraine if you can’t see around a corner that [Disney CEO] Bob Iger created for you.”

“Why do you want to punish a place that creates enormous tax revenue for your state, enormous tourism for your state, and you want to punish them because they disagree with you?”

Christie – who is himself considering a presidential run – said DeSantis’s actions “rightfully make a lot of people question his judgment and his maturity.” He also blasted Republicans supporting the moves, saying if a liberal governor was doing the same thing they would be horrified by it.

But not everyone believes DeSantis is out. Roy Bailey, a well-known fundraiser for Donald Trump, acknowledged to the Times that the party is eager for an alternative to the former president and that it is “a cold, hard fact” that the momentum has shifted to DeSantis.

Indeed, a Super PAC backing DeSantis called Never Back Down said it has already raised $30 million to support his presidential run, despite the fact that he has yet to announce his campaign. A whopping $20 million of that money came from one donor: hotel and aerospace magnate Robert Bigelow.

Bigelow is more than passionate about DeSantis, telling Time, “I will give him more money and go without food.”

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