Imitation may be the greatest form of flattery, but for Florida Democrats and President Donald Trump, it’s also plagiarism and “copyright infringement.”
That’s the contention of an email making the rounds from the Florida Democratic Party, which uses a Rolling Stone article and various alleged Trump thoughts in its plea to “stop the steal.” The FDP communique borrows the phrase, commonly associated with Republican lies about the 2020 Presidential Election not being legit, to underscore a different kind of alleged theft.
“Trump family dunks on DeSantis: ‘You’re stealing our bit,’” the email asserts.
“Ron DeSantis is blatantly ‘stealing’ Trump’s style and mannerisms in an effort to court Trump donors and challenge the former President. What’s more, sources say Trump finds DeSantis’ impression to be lame and severely lacking in charisma, and spends his time ridiculing DeSantis to his friends and confidants.”
Rolling Stone relied on off-the-record sources to make its argument, albeit with some hot quotes.
“There was this time, maybe a year ago, that I remember him making fun of (DeSantis) for doing similar hand gestures and motions,” one source said. “He called it ‘stealing’ from him and described it as a lame impression of Trump.”
And it’s not just the elder Trump being filched from, the email continues.
“Donald Trump Jr. has told those close to him that he has noticed an uncanny pattern: Often he will tweet something from @DonaldJTrumpJr — a culture-war grievance or a burgeoning trend among the online right — and then very soon after, he will see those specific topics incorporated into the Florida governor’s talking points,” the FDP claims.
“This has happened enough times that Trump’s eldest son has come to believe, according to a person familiar with the matter, that DeSantis and his staff likely look to his Twitter account for inspiration and to raid it for their latest policy ideas or red-meat-hurling rhetoric.”
One potential payback, the FDP email notes, could be in when and where Trump announces his run in 2024.
“Trump — who behind closed doors trashes DeSantis as charisma-free — has even toyed with launching a 2024 presidential campaign near the governor’s mansion in Florida, which would double as an obvious effort to troll DeSantis.”
Trump has one senior adviser who knows DeSantis very well. Susie Wiles is expected to lead his 2024 campaign. Wiles, of course, ran the DeSantis campaign down the closing stretch in 2018. Her reward was an unceremonious eviction from the Governor’s political orbit.
Meanwhile, DeSantis ducked a question about whether he was even talking to Trump, his former political mentor whose endorsement he pleaded for, during an otherwise friendly interview earlier this month.
“Well, Brian, to the extent I do have conversations with him, I’m sure the Department of Justice and the FBI would leak that to the New York Times, so stay tuned on that,” DeSantis said cryptically.