Trump and DeSantis prepare to team up despite ugly primary rivalry

Plus, Kristi Noem stands her ground on puppy murder.

Top Headlines

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former President Donald Trump appear to have set aside any animosity from their contentious Republican presidential primary and joined forces. While DeSantis formally endorsed Trump after dropping out of the race, the governor had remained relatively mute on the matter since then. Such discreteness is unsurprising, given how viciously Trump insulted DeSantis and his campaign over the course of 2023.

However, the two have recently met in-person to make amends, per a report by the Washington Post. The fence mending was organized by Steve Witkoff, a Florida real estate mogul close to both parties. Witkoff and other Republican insiders initiated the engagement because President Joe Biden has been significantly more successful at fundraising over the past few months. 

The hope is that DeSantis can tap into his robust donor network and aid Trump in his reelection — to say nothing of the substantial legal cost of his three separate criminal trials and the financial fallout of the E. Jean Carroll suit. 

But according to the Post’s Josh Dawsey, it’s a mutually beneficial exchange. 

“There is an incentive for DeSantis to form a closer relationship, as well. People close to DeSantis have said it is untenable for him to continue to have a strained relationship with Trump, particularly as he eyes his political future,” Dawsey explained. 

Media Corner

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) doubled-down after she admitted to killing a puppy in her forthcoming biography. In the book, a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian, Noem says she decided to shoot a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer in the head after it failed to learn how to hunt properly and had attacked a flock of chickens on a neighboring farm. 

Over the weekend, Noem responded to the controversy by downplaying the anti-social behavior. 

“I can understand why some people are upset about a 20 year old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch, in my upcoming book — No Going Back. The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned,” Noem wrote in a post to X. 

“The fact is, South Dakota law states that dogs who attack and kill livestock can be put down. Given that Cricket had shown aggressive behavior toward people by biting them, I decided what I did ... I followed the law and was being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor.” 

Noem’s admission was widely decried in media from across the political spectrum; even far-right outlets like Breitbart called the governor’s actions “reprehensible.” 

Yet not even puppy murder was enough to stop some in right-wing media from jumping to her defense. Michael Knowles of the conservative Daily Wire downplayed the indecent act on his podcast. 

“There’s nothing wrong with a human being humanely killing an animal,” the pundit said. “Sometimes if a dog is threatening people, if a dog is destroying people’s property, sometimes you have to put a dog down like Old Yeller.” 

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Jamie Larson