Is DeSantis about to leverage COVID vaccines in opposition to Trump and the Democrats?

Irrespective of one’s opinion of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, nobody can pretty state he doesn’t know the best way to “learn a room.”

Individuals — particularly Republicans and conservatives — will not be solely uninterested in “COVID-mania” however an increasing number of persons are beginning to query the efficacy of the vaccines. Nobody is aware of this higher than DeSantis, who labored laborious to vogue Florida right into a protected harbor shielded from the perceived COVID overreach and lockdowns. 

Now, as DeSantis prepares to launch an investigation into how the vaccines have been promoted and marketed in Florida, an attention-grabbing political bonus emerges if we join a number of dots: It places former President Donald Trump and the Democrats straight on the spot.    

This previous Tuesday, DeSantis — who gained reelection in November in a landslide and now leads Trump within the newest Wall Road Journal ballot amongst Republicans to grow to be the GOP nominee for president in 2024, if he runs — introduced that he’ll search a grand jury investigation into the pushing of the vaccines. “I’m saying a petition with the Supreme Court docket of Florida to impanel a statewide grand jury to research any and all wrongdoing in Florida with respect to COVID-19 vaccines,” he stated. “…We anticipate that we’ll get the approval for that. … It’s in opposition to the regulation to mislead and to misrepresent, significantly whenever you’re speaking concerning the efficacy of a drug.”

Now, those that could oppose DeSantis — whether or not it’s Trump in a major, Democrats, the liberal media, or movie star activists — underestimate the governor at their very own peril, particularly with regards to authorized issues.

DeSantis graduated with honors from Yale earlier than his acceptance to Harvard Legislation Faculty. After Harvard, he enlisted within the Navy and have become a JAG lawyer, supporting Navy SEALS in Iraq earlier than leaving the service to work in a Florida regulation agency. He has an actual, and proactive, understanding of the regulation, one thing he has honed throughout his comparatively temporary political profession. Whereas saying the grand jury investigation, DeSantis famous: “Only in the near past, Florida received $3.2 billion by way of authorized motion in opposition to these accountable for the opioid disaster. … It’s not like that is one thing that’s unprecedented.” 

Some may see that as throwing down a gauntlet on the ft of Pfizer, Moderna and different drug producers accountable for the vaccines. However extra importantly, it’s an announcement that reminds those that oppose him that they’ve some political publicity on this subject — and DeSantis has the need and the assets to capitalize on it.

One who actually has his fingerprints all around the “COVID Chronicles” is Trump. Whereas the liberal media and the Biden White Home went all-in to push the vaccines and seemingly tried to raise Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses, to sainthood, many conservatives and Republicans maintain strongly opposing views.

Virtually three full years after the onset of the pandemic, Trump’s “Operation Warp Pace” to develop vaccines and the retention of Fauci and appointment of Dr. Deborah Birx as Trump’s White Home Coronavirus Response Coordinator, could possibly be used in opposition to Trump if somebody desires to go down that highway.

It’s a highway that, in keeping with Vainness Honest, DeSantis could also be surveying to make sure the least-bumpy experience potential. In a latest article, “Ron DeSantis: The Making and Remaking (and Remaking) of a MAGA Inheritor,” the journal quotes a Republican supply as saying that the primary broadside DeSantis would fireplace in opposition to Trump can be: “Why didn’t you fireplace Fauci?”

Vainness Honest’s perceived liberal bias apart, many Republicans and conservatives do take into account that to be a legitimate query to pose to Trump. If requested on the proper time, by somebody who has the ear of the Republican Get together, it’d open a Pandora’s field of pent up frustration and anger — directed at not solely Trump, but additionally the Democratic Get together.

If DeSantis does get his grand jury empaneled, they usually return indictments, no matter any immunity due from holding public workplace, some fallout will descend upon Trump and numerous high-profile Democrats. And irrespective of how a lot they brush off that radioactive mud, a few of it should stick. Will it’s sufficient for voters within the Republican major and 2024 basic election to note? Time will inform, however the Florida governor could have simply signaled he’s a number of strikes right into a political chess match wherein his potential opponents have but to advance a pawn.  

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications guide, was a author within the White Home for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former particular assistant for coverage and communications on the Pentagon over the last three years of the Bush administration.