Trump lashed out at Florida governor nominee Ron DeSantis for not standing by his wild attack on Puerto Rico.
Trump is lashing out at one of his Republican acolytes after he dared question Trump's lie about the Hurricane Maria death toll.
The messy spat could have major electoral implications, since the Republican now drawing Trump's ire is Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who's locked in a crucial race to become Florida's next governor.
It's a race that might be slipping away from the GOP, according to the latest polling.
Complicating that campaign is the fact that Trump now views DeSantis as being "profoundly disloyal for distancing himself from the president’s assertion that the Hurricane Maria death toll was inflated by Democrats for political purposes," Politico reports. "One person close to the president described the situation as a 'divorce.'"
Politically, DeSantis had no choice but to try to run for cover after Trump uncorked his Hurricane Maria hate, claiming nearly 3,000 people didn't actually die in Hurricane Maria last year when it obliterated parts of Puerto Rico.
Not only was Trump's Puerto Rico lie about the death toll heartless and cruel, but it was incredibly insulting to Puerto Ricans who make up an important voting block in the state of Florida.
An estimated 135,000 Puerto Ricans arrived in Florida in wake of last year’s killer storm, and many are now ready to vote.
"Exact numbers are hard to come by, but political consultants in the state estimate as many as 500,000 could be registered to vote among the 13 million active registered voters," Politico reports.
But if this "divorce" is a real thing and not a passing Trump temper tantrum, it could cost DeSantis, who owes his sudden political rise entirely to Trump.
DeSantis' profile began to increase last year when he emerged as one of Trump's loudest and least ethical defenders, as he joined Trump in actively trying to undermine faith in U.S. law enforcement.
DeSantis called special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe a “very dangerous” investigation, and Trump returned the favor by endorsing DeSantis' run for governor.
In terms of winning a GOP primary, that strategy appears to be a winning one in the Trump era — go on Fox News, defend Trump, smear his critics, get Trump's endorsement.
As of now, though, DeSantis' campaign continues to sputter.
The day after he secured the GOP nomination in the governor's race, DeSantis sparked a national fury when he appeared on Fox News and urged Florida voters not to "monkey" with their vote in November.
He said that while facing the first black candidate, Andrew Gillum, to ever win a party's nomination for governor in the state of Florida.
Even Fox News condemned DeSantis' rhetoric as being out of bounds.
The 6-point deficit is the largest DeSantis has faced so far. If Trump abandons DeSantis, can the Republican survive in Florida?
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.