Former Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) suggested Friday that COVID-19 vaccines will become a worrying “wedge issue” between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) during their rumored respective runs for the White House in 2024.
“Is this a wedge issue now that Ron DeSantis wants between him and MAGA nation and between him and the former president?” Jolly asked MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace during a discussion about DeSantis’ nominee for Florida Surgeon General, the anti-mask, anti-lockdown and vaccine skeptic Dr. Joseph Ladapo.
Ladapo’s nomination was indicative of the “pandemic of lunacy that is infecting” today’s GOP, said Jolly, who left the party in 2018. “You simply have to deny the reality of COVID, you have to deny science, you have to deny the competence of our leading public health officials for political purposes,” lamented the former House lawmaker.
“Does the Florida governor agree that Trump’s Operation Warp Speed was successful or not?” he asked. “Welcome to the big leagues, Ron DeSantis. Tell us.”
Watch the interview here:
Jolly last week warned DeSantis would be “far more dangerous” as president than Trump. “He’s more savvy. He’s more coy. And he doesn’t have the pitfalls that Donald Trump does,” he cautioned. “He’s really kneecapping democracy right now for people of Florida, and he will successfully do it on the national stage should he get to the White House.”
Trump endorsed DeSantis in 2018 but tensions have reportedly soured over their potential rival runs. Trump has allegedly groused about DeSantis’ failure, so far, to say he won’t run against him. The former president’s attack on “gutless” politicians who haven’t revealed whether they’ve received the COVID booster shot was seen as a not-so-subtle dig at the Florida governor.