Neil W. McCabe: DeSantis Recognizes the Trump Dichotomy of Personality and Issues

Mar 22, 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 One America News political correspondent Neil W McCabe to the newsmaker line to breakdown the 2024 Republican presidential candidates.

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

McCabe: Michael, Crom, very good to be with you, man.

Leahy: So Neil, Saturday morning former President Trump puts out this tweet: I expect to be arrested by the left-wing district attorney in Manhattan on Tuesday on these trumped-up charges. Almost immediately, our buddy, Vivek Ramaswamy put out a tweet calling on the DA in New York to not make these charges because they were in fact, trumped up.

The Trump campaign made this a litmus test for the other candidates. Some of them ultimately came in and backed him but others didn’t. And your buddy Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida had a, oh, I don’t know, a weak defense of Trump, wouldn’t you say?

McCabe: (Chuckles) He checked the box.

Leahy: He checked the box. But what he didn’t say was that Donald Trump was unhappy with that response. And then he had this social media posting on Truth Social late Monday night where he said DeSantis is struggling. He’s probably gonna be behind young Vivek Ramaswamy in the polls when they come up. What do you make of that?

McCabe: Michael, we learned when we were doing the Breitbart polls together in 2016, and this is from the words of Pat Caddell, Trump wins on the issues, Trump does not win on personality. And Pat, I don’t know if he had this rant with you, but he had a rant one night and basically told me, I’m going to Trump Tower to meet with Bannon and tell Bannon that if Trump keeps making it a personality contest between him and Hillary, he will lose.

He needs to talk about Syrian refugees. He needs to talk about building a wall. He needs to talk about defending gun rights. And I think this is the problem with Trump because more than any other politician around today, it’s personality and issues. And there are a lot of politicians who have no personality, but they’re all issues. And there are some guys who are all personality.

But with Trump, it’s this constant battle. And I think the real sort of subtext of what’s happened in the last month with Trump versus DeSantis is that for the first time, DeSantis is reacting to Trump, not the other way around. I think the DeSantis people have had to move up their timetable to respond to this thing in Manhattan.

And you also saw DeSantis, a week or so ago basically responding to Trump’s criticism where he never really did it before. He basically ignored him. And Monday he had a thing in Panama City and the DeSantis people were calling around telling people, hey you might want to cover this thing in Panama City because there’ll be some availability for questions.

I think that the DeSantis people were shocked that it turned so badly against them. What regular Republicans want is, they just want everybody to rally around a Republican who’s getting sniped at.

The last thing I’ll say about this, Mike I guess on this rant though, is that in the midterms for 2022, we saw the breakup of the marriage inside the Republican Party between the staffers, the consultants, the leaders, and the conservatives because you had the staffers, the consultants, and the leadership working against conservatives who were the nominees. And on Wednesday morning, they were ecstatic.

They were cheering that so many conservatives and MAGA candidates lost and for good or for bad, right? If you have a party, everybody has a primary, and then everyone supports the nominee. If people in your party are actively working against your nominee, that is not a party anymore.

Leahy: You’re down there in Tallahassee?

McCabe: Yes.

Leahy: You’ve been down there for several months, and I think you’re still working on that exclusive interview with Ron DeSantis. I see that your buddy Piers Morgan…

McCabe: Wait a minute. I spoke to him. I spoke to him for eight minutes about Hurricane Ian. So there you go.

Leahy: You got the eight minutes. Your buddy Piers Morgan went down and spent an hour with him in the mansion there and had an interview that’s gonna air on Fox Nation Thursday. DeSantis is trying to distinguish himself from Trump and criticized Trump’s style. Is that a winning approach for DeSantis?

McCabe: It’s the only lane available to him because he recognizes the Trump dichotomy, which is personality and issues. So he can’t go after Trump on issues. He has to go after Trump on personality, which is a mistake. If you attack Trump on personality, you will lose.

The guy has to make a case so he agrees with Trump on all the issues. Trump endorsed him and made him the governor of Florida. Trump was nice to him and considerate to him after he was the governor of Florida and did whatever he could for him.

And even after DeSantis’s people started sniping at Trump, he continued to be nice to him. And so you have to ask Governor DeSantis, why are you working so hard to block Trump from being president of the United States just so you can be president of the United States?

Leahy: I think the argument would be DeSantis would have a better chance of beating Joe Biden. What are your thoughts on that?

McCabe: People tell me, we’re really tired of all this Trump static and it’s just too much. There’s just too much noise. He jumbles everything up and makes everything crazy. And we need a guy who’s calm. A calm conservative.

I can tell you, DeSantis is not the guy who calms the water. (Leahy chuckles) He banned black studies from AP black studies in high schools. He’s going after the drag queens.

Leahy: He didn’t ban it. He said that version of it wasn’t gonna work

McCabe: The AP course is banned. And he said, you know what, when AP said, hey, we don’t think the governor’s right about this. The governor says we might just throw out the SAT too. The governor has said he will throw out the SAT if the college board doesn’t behave itself.

He also took 50 homeless migrants from Texas and told them they were gonna have paradise in Martha’s Vineyard. He videotaped it so he could use it in campaign commercials and give it to Fox. I’m not saying it wasn’t a funny prank. Don’t tell me he’s the guy who’s going to calm everything down and not have static.

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 Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.