After the midterms, Ron DeSantis outshines Trump on Fox News

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While the outcome of Tuesday’s midterm election was still up in the air on Wednesday night, political forecasters on Fox News were already predicting a very bright political future for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Many pundits on the cable channel have spent years campaigning for former President Donald Trump as the candidate most likely to return Republicans to the White House, but the tone at Fox was noticeably different when the election results came in. DeSantis’ landslide victory over Democrat Charlie Crist was one of the few bright spots for Republicans as they saw their hopes of a halftime red wave dwindle, and many commentators suggested that the governor might be a better candidate for 2024 than the former president.

DeSantis “made the best case I’ve heard for the GOP in a while,” Trump’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox midday Wednesday. “It was positive, it was sunny, it was forward-looking. It must be the future message for the party.”

Fox contributor Jason Chaffetz, who wrote a column last year “Dear Republican Trump Haters” praising the virtues of the defeated president, bluntly stated Wednesday that DeSantis “will likely be one of the frontrunners — if not the frontrunner.” will be the next President of the United States of America.”

As if to get the point across, the former Republican congressman slammed Trump for disparaging his rival, whom he recently dubbed “Ron DeSanctimonious.”

“Even before the votes were closed to start shooting Ron DeSantis?” Chaffetz asked. “Donald Trump isn’t going to like this, but I have to tell you, the people I speak to say, ‘We love Donald Trump. … But you know what, we don’t like all the drama. We like Ron DeSantis.’ I hear that.”

Versions of that line echoed through Fox throughout the day. “Trump is gone,” said Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney. “Donald Trump [might] cost us the Senate twice in a row,” lamented Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen, who also writes a column for the Washington Post.

The glow extended beyond the premier cable news network to other parts of Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. The New York Post declared DeSantis “DeFUTURE” in a front-page headline.

“That’s one winning White House profile if I’ve ever seen one, if he can replicate that nationally,” Fox host John Roberts told viewers Wednesday afternoon, noting DeSantis’ strong showing among Hispanic voters and women.

Of course, there were also contradicting voices. Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law and another pundit on Fox’s payroll, mused early Wednesday morning, “If there’s ever a time when people are ready for Donald Trump to come back, it might be now.”

But she was a runaway. A Fox News article summed up the prevailing sentiment Wednesday morning with this headline: “Conservatives point fingers at Trump after disappointing GOP election results: ‘He’s never been weaker.’ ”

“I love Trump. I want him to walk I think he’s a great candidate. I loved him as president,” Fox News host Jesse Watters said Wednesday night. But he added: “He brings such madness to the left. They will walk on hot coals to vote against Donald Trump.”

It’s hardly the first time DeSantis has received praise for Fox. He was regularly invited to the channel during his first campaign for governor in 2018, and even some of the channel’s most loyal Donald Trump fans have flirted with the idea of ​​President DeSantis. “Ron DeSantis is showing tremendous strength in New Hampshire, Michigan and Florida,” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade told viewers in July, citing a poll. “He leads or is associated with the former President.”

But this week’s burst of flattery for DeSantis is Notable given Trump’s longstanding relationship with Fox, which has occupied many hosts who heavily promoted his first presidential bid and have stuck with him since he lost the White House. When Fox personalities or presenters criticized the former president, Trump often hit back. For example, he said “Fox & Friends” “went to the ‘dark side’ after the July segment.”

The timing could also be particularly problematic for Trump, who has strongly indicated he intends to announce his 2024 campaign next week.

If he does, candidate Trump could get a colder reception on Fox than he’s used to. Some insiders have seen signs that the former president has lost the trust of Murdoch, the media titan who controls Fox and much of the rest of the conservative media sphere.

The Wall Street Journal, also controlled by the Murdoch family, described DeSantis’ victory Wednesday morning as a “tsunami.” Trump notably received a stern rebuke from the Journal’s editorial board earlier this year for his behavior during the Jan. 6, 2021 riots in the US Capitol.

The New York Post cover praising DeSantis on the party’s future could hit Trump particularly hard. “Let me just say I know someone in Mar-a-Lago, Florida who could unsubscribe from the New York Post,” Fox’s Ari Fleischer joked Wednesday.

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