The Policy Fights Where DeSantis Sees His Chance to Hit Trump

The Policy Fights Where DeSantis Sees His Chance to Hit Trump

After dodging questions about Ukraine, Mr. DeSantis told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that defending Ukraine against Russia was not a vital US interest and dismissed the war as a “territorial dispute.” Wracked by criticism, Mr. DeSantis backed away from the “territorial dispute” line and in a subsequent interview labeled Mr. Putin a “war criminal.” Mr Trump refused to do the same when asked to do so on CNN.

While both Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis despise international institutions like the United Nations, the former president poses a greater threat to the post-World War II international security framework.

Mr Trump’s former national security adviser, John R Bolton, feared his boss would withdraw the United States from NATO and was convinced he would do so if re-elected to a second term. Now, Mr. Trump is confirming these fears on his campaign website, promising to “complete the process of fundamental reassessment of NATO purpose and mission begun under my administration.”

In pre-Trump Republican nomination contests, the front runners tended to squabble over who was more fiscally conservative — who would abolish more federal agencies and who would be more willing to shrink the federal government “to the size that I can drag it in “. bathroom and drown it in the bathtub,” as anti-tax activist Grover Norquist put it.

But Mr Trump has reshaped the Republican primary into a battle over who will be the most protectionist on trade and who will be the most faithful to upholding government benefits for the elderly. Mr DeSantis, who rose to politics as a Tea Party fiscal conservative, has so far shown little interest in outdoing the former president on government spending and trade, and appears hopeful he will refocus the party’s talks on fiscal discipline can.

Mr. Trump and his super PAC have criticized Mr. DeSantis’ congressional votes to cut Social Security and Medicare spending. Mr DeSantis has said he will not “mess” with Social Security for seniors who currently rely on the program, but unlike Mr Trump, he has not ruled out cutting Social Security spending in ways that will affect younger ones would impact Americans when they retire.

Mr Trump has launched attacks against Mr DeSantis over his previous efforts to scrap the renewable fuel standard, which requires blending ethanol into the country’s fuel supply. Financial conservatives see this as a “major government transgression,” but Mr. Trump knows how important ethanol is to Iowa’s economy.