HBO's Bill Maher is being extolled by former President Donald Trump for categorizing Trump supporters' position on Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis as voting to watch a "tribute band" versus the original.
Trump posted a Truth Social link to a Rumble video clip of "Real Time With Bill Maher" from earlier this month.
"I think liberals make a real effort to not to understand the Trump voter," Maher said. "It's like, 'Um, oh, DeSantis is going to be great because it's Trumpism without Trump.'
"And, they're like, 'Why would we want a tribute band when the actual band is still playing?'"
Maher, who is a well-known centrist Democrat comedian, makes a show of critiquing all sides of the political spectrum.
The start of his remarks posted by Trump, however, do not entirely comport with DeSantis' popularity in Florida.
"First of all, everything I hear of DeSantis is that he's dull — he doesn't have any charisma," Maher said.
Well, the Oxford Dictionary's definition of charisma is: "compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others."
DeSantis boasts plenty of devotion of Florida voters, frequently hailing his "blowout" victory the past midterm elections, taking a state with a 1-point margin between Republican and Democrats in past gubernatorial elections and widening it to double digits.
"As problematic as our country has been over the last couple of years — it seems like all these guys get these things wrong — if you have the right principles and you have the ability to lead, and you're willing to show the courage to do it, you can achieve good things," DeSantis told Newsmax's "Eric Bolling The Balance" on Thursday.
"We've done that in Florida. People have responded. So we're proud of that."
DeSantis' "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival" was released a month ago, detailing how he helped his state navigate COVID-19, while beating back attacks from woke ideologues and the damage of President Joe Biden's economic and border policies.
"It's part of the reason I wrote the book. Regardless of any type of higher office, I think it's a blueprint for other states to follow," DeSantis said.
Just follow the data, DeSantis said, pointing to Florida leading the nation in migration.
"People are leaving the left-wing states, and they're moving to red states," he continued. "Florida's obviously No. 1 for migration, but these other states are drawing population, too.
"People are voting with their feet about how they want to live."
Also in that interview, DeSantis rejected any conservative longing for a Trump-DeSantis ticket in 2024, saying he is more Batman than Robin.
"I think I'm probably more of an executive guy," DeSantis told host Eric Bolling. "I think that you want to be able to do things. That's part of the reason I got into this job is because we have action.
"We're able to make things happen, and I think that's probably what I am best suited for."
One night later on Newsmax's "Rob Schmitt Tonight," Trump echoed the break from DeSantis, despite the dismay to some Republicans who appreciate both editions of conservative leadership.
"No, I think that would be a very unlikely alliance," Trump told host Rob Schmitt on Friday night, when asked if he would consider DeSantis as a potential running mate.
"I've never thought of it. We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party. I've never thought of it; but you know some people every once in awhile mention it, but that's about it."
One of the more poignant descriptions of the GOP Catch-22 was laid bare by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a Trump event announcing his 2024 presidential campaign team earlier this year.
"There is one thing I want to talk to you about; how many have you heard: 'We like Trump's policies, but we want somebody new?'" Graham told the crowd, grabbing the mic. "There are no Trump policies without Donald Trump.
"The good news for the Republican Party, there are many talented people for years to come, but there is only one Donald Trump," Graham continued.
"And I say this sincerely: You can talk about his policies, but you could not do what he did."
DeSantis has yet to decline an official 2024 presidential campaign, albeit perhaps because current Florida law would require him to step down as governor if he were to announce his candidacy for another office.
"We have term limits for governor, so in 2026, one way or another, there will be two candidates running, and I will not be one of those," DeSantis told Bolling, referring to Floridians who want him to stay governor. "That's just the nature of it."
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