Florida’s Ron DeSantis Warns Trump Will “Take Guns First, Go Through Due-Process Second” in First Campaign Interview

Toby Hazlewood

DeSantis to campaign on constitutional freedoms?

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantisPhoto byTwitter of EdKrassen

On May 25, in the immediate aftermath of the formal beginning of his presidential campaign, Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis began a round of media interviews and gave early sight of how he intends to battle against the one-term former president Donald Trump, for the Republican nomination.

One clear issue that he will be campaigning upon, is in contrasting his views on gun control to those of Trump.

Confronting Trump on gun-controls

Commenting in an interview, DeSantis made reference to previous interviews given by Trump in which he has suggested he is in favor of tighter gun controls than those which DeSantis has introduced in Florida, allowing permit-less concealed carry of handguns within the Sunshine State. His views on such an approach were clear, describing it as "unconstitutional" and "wrong".

Last month, a pro-DeSantis political action committee began running TV adverts that attacked "Trump the gun grabber" and this opening shot from DeSantis suggests that his strategists have identified this as a point on which the Florida Governor may best the three-time loser Trump.

The video made reference to past statements by Trump where he spoke in favor of aspects of gun control and which run counter to the narrative of preserving constitutional freedoms when it comes to the right to bear arms.

These included suggestions that the NRA should be challenged, that he was in favor of red-flag laws, background checks and increasing the minimum age for gun owners to 21.

Whether the comment from DeSantis that Trump is against preservation of constitutional freedoms in their purest sense, will pass without comment by the former president, seems unlikely. It does give early sight of the DeSantis strategy though - to go after those who were previously considered Trump's most ardent supporters.

Gun and constitutionPhoto byShutterstock

Time for Republicans to take sides

In the weeks before DeSantis finally declared his candidacy, there were early signs of Republicans starting to take sides and pick who they would support for the nomination. DeSantis managed to secure endorsements both from ardent MAGA Republicans including Thomas Massie of Kentucky, as well as from previous Trump supporters like Adam Laxalt in Nevada.

More recently, it emerged that a coalition of 100+ former Trump administrators had declared that they'd be supporting DeSantis.

Trump meanwhile, has been racking up endorsements of his own, including from a number of notable Florida Republicans including Matt Gaetz and Byron Donalds. Trump can also rely on the ardent support of his most-ardent Republican ally - Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia - who recently stated that in her opinion:

“Ron DeSantis is not a serious candidate.”

Her conviction may be based - as much as anything else - in the hope that Trump will eventually appoint her as his running-mate for the White House.

It remains to be seen whether the DeSantis tactic of campaigning on the protection of constitutional freedoms such as the right to bear arms, will be enough to outweigh Trump's advantage.

Do you think that Ron DeSantis is right to campaign on constitutional freedom as the basis for his presidency? Would you prefer DeSantis or Trump as the Republican candidate? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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