Swiftly after news broke that former President Donald Trump is set to be arrested, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly denounced the move as “un-American”—and addressed the elephant in the room.
“Florida will not assist in an extradition request,” DeSantis tweeted, “given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda.”
One of the most vexing aspects of the former president’s unprecedented indictment was the role his top rival for the 2024 GOP nomination could have played in the legal proceedings.
Following the indictment, Trump—officially a Florida resident—is required to appear for his arraignment in Manhattan court. If he did not voluntarily surrender, DeSantis would be compelled to approve a warrant for Trump’s arrest to extradite him from Florida to New York.
As he ramps up his presidential campaign—one that depends on converting Trump’s supporters—DeSantis could have been put in an impossible political situation, not to mention an utterly novel legal one, if Trump refused to cooperate.
At the moment, however, it appears that Trump will voluntarily surrender in New York. On Thursday night, Trump’s lawyer confirmed to NBC News that the former president plans to surrender in person in New York next week. If he sticks to that commitment, DeSantis would be let off the hook.
In his response to the indictment, the Florida governor may have been more focused on appeasing Trump’s supporters—less so Trump and his allies, who have seethed for weeks that DeSantis has not moved fast enough to denounce the indictment as a “witch hunt.”
Unsurprisingly, DeSantis’ tweet landed with something of a thud in Trumpworld. In particular, sources in the ex-president’s inner circle immediately seized on the fact that DeSantis didn’t name Trump in his tweet.
“There is a name missing,” one Trump operative close to the 2024 campaign said, while another source close to Trump wondered why DeSantis didn’t use his name.
Even if DeSantis had named Trump, it probably would have been too little, too late in the eyes of his backers.
“It doesn’t matter,” a source close to Trump told The Daily Beast regarding DeSantis’ tweet. “DeSantis let his true colors show last week when he tried to spin the indictment as a ‘manufactured crisis’ right before attempting to punch Donald Trump in the face with a Soros talking point.”
A DeSantis spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
DeSantis’ quick commitment to not cooperate with New York authorities and protect Trump illustrates his political bind—and his willingness to skirt established procedure in order to make a statement against Manhattan prosecutors.
As The New York Times reported, “DeSantis’ role would be essentially ministerial and he would have few legal options other than approving an extradition request from New York.”
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