January 13, 2022

Anderson Cooper had Maggie Haberman as his guest last night, and they discussed whether Republican senators will follow Sen. Mike Rounds' lead in saying the election wasn't stolen.

"The problem is, ignoring Trump doesn't work, either. So, you know, I think that Rounds is maybe among a slow-growing chorus. but we are going to see how that plays ought because at the end of the day, many of these senators still do fear him," Haberman said.

He asked her if Trump is going to run for president.

"You know, my -- my personal, you know, I assume that he is going to run. He is certainly doing everything one would do to run. But what's interesting, Anderson, is he is very focused on Ron DeSantis -- the governor of Florida, in particular. There are a bunch of Republicans who have not told him they won't run if he does. They have just sort of left it open," she said.

"In the case of DeSantis, Trump has been complaining to people that DeSantis won't say that he is not going to challenge him. That really bothers him. DeSantis, you know, there is no question that DeSantis would not have won his race in 2018 without Trump's help, but DeSantis has been really unwilling to be the kind of subsidiary of Trump that other candidates have turned themselves into and so I think that's what that conversation is about. I don't see why he wouldn't run. But, you know, it's a while away."

(Well, Maggie, there are quite a few investigations lurking in the background, but okay.)

"We played earlier another swipe from the former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There has been very little traction when it comes to demands to remove McConnell from leadership. Why would the former president keep -- I mean, I guess he just pushes this because what else is he going to talk about?" Anderson said.

"I don't think it's strategic, Anderson. I mean, I hear an enormous amount of frustration from a lot of people. Um, in -- in conversations with Trump. Frequent conversations with him that he won't move off these attacks they consider counterproductive. Even the people who, you know, share his antipathy of McConnell, and there are some but they don't think this is helping him. They don't think this is a way to go forward. This isn't a strategy. This isn't a tactic."

But Trump doesn't do strategy! He simply bludgeons anyone who displeases him in any way, and if Ron DeSantis is planning to steal his donors and his nomination, well, it should be quite the bloodbath if Trump goes after him. Which is probably good news for Democrats, since DeSantis will go even farther to the right -- and it won't play well in Florida when he tries to institute a Mississippi-style abortion law, as he's hinted. Florida has regions where people might like that, but those aren't where the majority of general election voters are.

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