Neil W. McCabe: As Ron Desantis Gains Successes, Trump Increases His Lead

May 17, 2023

Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed top gov tracker, Neil W. McCabe to the newsmaker line to talk about how Donald Trump continues his lead in the polls as Ron DeSantis racks up successes.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line, our very good friend with One America News Network, top gov tracker. Mr. Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.

McCabe: Michael, very good to be with you, sir.

Leahy: So is the waiting game about to be over? Is Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, your buddy down there in Tallahassee, going to be announcing his candidacy for president soon?

McCabe: What? What have you heard? He wants to be president. (Leahy laughs)

Carmichael: DeSantis has been very clever. Yes. He even has Neil fooled.

McCabe: Very clever. (Laughter) I walk around Tallahassee and I see a bunch of tripods and cameras. I’m like, oh, another story I had no idea was going on. Fantastic.

Leahy: (Chuckles) When Governor DeSantis calls you in for a private conference, Neil which has happened so often as we know.

McCabe: More often than he’d like.

Leahy: When he calls you in for that private conference, does he whisper Neil? It’s going to be like next week. Some outlets are reporting next week that he’s announcing.

McCabe: Yesterday he was endorsed by the senate president and the Florida Speaker of the House. I would classify those as hostage- gun to the head type endorsement. What are you going to do? I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump actually gave some people a hall pass.

Leahy: Sure.

McCabe: And basically said, listen, I understand your situation. DeSantis yesterday took a shot at Trump, criticizing him over abortion. But he also took a big loss in Jacksonville because that was one of the largest cities in America with a Republican mayor. And the Republicans lost. And that’s a big deal.

Leahy: I didn’t know that.

McCabe: And so over the weekend when DeSantis was flipping burgers in Iowa, Rick Scott and other Republicans were trying to get a Republican elected as the mayor of Jacksonville. And then, like at the last minute, DeSantis endorsed this very wealthy woman in the Republican primary in Kentucky. She came in third.

Leahy: Dan Cameron, who’s a great attorney general there was endorsed by Trump. He won the primary by 35 percent, and the others got 19 percent. And the woman who was endorsed by DeSantis, a big donor, got 17 percent. Cameron won going away yesterday.

McCabe: And so why would DeSantis at the last minute throw, unless, whatever, maybe there was a check involved? But it was interesting that in his speech last night, Cameron was saying Trump’s culture of winning is pretty successful here in Kentucky, which is a shot at DeSantis.

And so I don’t know if DeSantis wants to have the African American Republican running for governor of Kentucky, taking shots at him. Maybe. Who knows what his strategy is? I did notice too that The Associated Press and other sort of services that provide TV channels with clips didn’t include Cameron’s Trump quote. I don’t know if it’ll pop up somewhere else.

Leahy: Just the News and Breitbart all lead with that. The first that thing out of his mouth was, Trump’s culture of winning continues.

McCabe: Exactly, which I don’t think there’s any mistaking that was a shot at DeSantis, who will be in New Hampshire Friday, and apparently DeSantis put out a release that says, hey, a bunch of these guys who endorse or basically was putting out the mess, a bunch of these guys who endorsed Trump are now endorsing me. And that turns out that there’s a bunch of people in New Hampshire who have endorsed both DeSantis and Trump because you know, whatever. Who cares?

Leahy: (Chuckles) It’s very interesting to see how that will all play out. There’s a Morning Consult poll out today, which shows among GOP primary voters. Trump has widened his lead over DeSantis, even after the Jean Carroll trial results of Trump 61, DeSantis 18. So that’s a trend of Trump rising among GOP primary voters and the unannounced DeSantis declining slightly. Your thoughts?

McCabe: It’s gotta be difficult to explain to people why we spent 10s of millions of dollars, went on a book tour across the country, gave a speech at the Reagan Library, appeared on national cable shows, and we’re going down. Had a very successful legislative session. DeSantis might go down as one of the most conservative governors to ever serve in America ever. And yesterday he said he was going to send Florida State Troopers to the border.

He’s going to send Florida planes, trucks, and other resources to the border to back things up. He just signed a bill that basically requires mandatory E-Verify and if you didn’t use E-Verify and you hired a guy, it’s like $1,000 dollars a day until you come up with an explanation as to why.

You have to prove he’s a citizen to an administrative judge, or they’re paying $1,000 a day per employee. That’s some pretty heavy stuff, especially if you’re in the orange-picking business, right?

Leahy: Let me add, Neil, you’re making a very strong case. Crom was telling me basically the same thing off-air. As a record of conservatism, Governor DeSantis has a very strong conservative record of accomplishments. And it is odd, Neil, very odd, as DeSantis continues to rack up these successes, Trump increases his lead.

McCabe: And I think the DeSantis people would tell you that yes, of course. Whatever. We’re focusing on other things, and I’m trying to be the governor here, but now that the legislative session is over, when I announce it’s going to reboot the whole race and people are going to see that I am a conservative who wins, and that’s what the Republican Party needs.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Ron DeSantis.