Newsmax panel discussion on Trump vs. DeSantis gets heated: ‘You sound like a Democrat!’

The split in the Republican base between supporters of former President Donald J. Trump and others wanting to go with a fresh face without the baggage in Ron DeSantis was evident during a Newsmax panel discussion on the day after the Florida governor officially declared his White House candidacy.

With Team Trump seeking to capitalize on troubles with DeSantis’ official launch on Twitter Spaces, which was plagued with technical issues beyond his control, to portray the rising GOP star as not ready for prime time, Make America Great Again Inc. spokesperson Karoline Leavitt clashed with Newsweek senior editor-at-large Josh Hammer on Thursday’s edition of “John Bachman Now” as it becomes increasingly obvious that the party base is splitting into two warring camps.

During their exchange, both sought to make their points with Leavitt accusing her fellow guest of parroting Democrat talking points

(Video: Newsmax TV)

“DeSantis’ botched campaign announcement proves that he and his team are not ready for prime time,” she said. “He proposes a national federal sales tax, he voted to cut Social Security, he has no plan to end the war in Ukraine. President Trump cut taxes, secured the border, reinvested in our economy. He is the day one leader that America needs.”

“Look, I mean Karoline has her talking points and that’s cute and everything, but the reality here is that Republican primary voters are ready for a winner,” Hammer said over her protests.

“They are sick of losing. They are sick of relitigating an election from two and a half years ago. They are sick of Stormy Daniels and all of the crap,” he added. “This country is going to hell in a handbasket. It’s time to put policy on the agenda and start winning.”

“I’m glad you’re reciting your Democrat talking points. My talking points are true and the polls prove it,” Leavitt said, talking over Hammer as the hosts reasserted control, bringing the quarrelsome segment to a close.

The dispute between the two later spilled over onto Twitter.

What went unmentioned is the extent that Trump himself borrows heavily from Democrats for material to use in slash-and-burn attacks on his top rival, most recently assailing the Sunshine State Republican over his record on COVID in which he appeared to praise disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo while regurgitating repurposed leftist talking points and siding with “woke” Disney for good measure.

DeSantis jabbed back by accusing Trump of turning the country over to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the elfin career bureaucrat who was allowed to dictate the pandemic response, first under Trump and then as President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser.

The obvious peril of such attacks is that they validate the enemy narrative, especially when it comes to gaslighting a largely ignorant electorate with short memories regarding Biden’s un-American COVID authoritarianism with his demonizing of the vaccine-hesitant and his totalitarian jab mandates which were shot down by the courts.

There are many who would really like to see Trump dial it down rather than continually escalate using Democrat talking points to take out this competition for the GOP nomination, in essence, a major gift to a wounded Biden who is ripe for the taking, with the feeling being that both men should compete on the battlefield of ideas with the top objective being preventing the reelection of the extremist demagogue, something that is a real possibility if the Republican base fractures.

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Chris Donaldson

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