Issues & Insights

Has Anyone Noticed Trump Sounds Like A Liberal Democrat These Days?

As Donald Trump ramps up his attacks on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a strange trend is emerging. Most of his attacks are coming from the left.

In his speeches, posts on Truth Social, and comments to the press, Trump has been shouting things like: DeSantis wants to cut Social Security and Medicare! DeSantis did a worse job on COVID than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo! DeSantis’ attack on Disney “is all so unnecessary, a political STUNT!”

In one recent post, Trump said that “I strongly defended and backed Ethanol, Ron ‘DeSaster’ has ALWAYS been strongly against Ethanol, just like he voted 3 times to cut Social Security (and raise the minimum age to 70!), obliterate MediCare, and charge everyone a National Sales Tax of 23%.”

Let’s start with that last one, which an ad sponsored by a pro-Trump PAC describes as a huge tax hike that would result in the middle class paying more in taxes.

The truth is that sales tax idea that DeSantis co-sponsored while in Congress – and that Trump himself supported in the past – would get rid of the federal income tax, capital gains tax, corporate income tax, payroll taxes, estate and gift taxes, and replaced them all with a national sales tax. It would include a substantial rebate to make it more progressive. It would also abolish the IRS. (Read our recent guest commentary about it – “How To Defund The IRS? Top 10 Reasons For A National Sales Tax.”)

The conservative Tax Foundation described the idea as “a step in the right direction for a pro-growth and simpler tax code.” We’re not entirely sold on the merits of a national sales tax. But whatever you think about the idea, Trump’s attacks on it simply parrot left-wing talking points.

Trump’s Social Security and Medicare barbs are also right out of the Democratic playbook.

An analysis by Reuters found that “Trump has repeatedly accused DeSantis of wanting to ‘destroy’ those benefits and has criticized the Florida governor 43 times on those issues since November, with the attacks intensifying since March.”

The truth is that these entitlement programs are both in dire straits. Social Security’s “Trust Fund” will run out of money in less than a decade. Medicare’s is about as close to insolvency. When that happens, either taxes will have to go up or benefits cut to keep the programs as is.

Social Security is also a terrible investment for today’s workers, most of whom are guaranteed to lose money on the deal. Conservatives have long championed reforms that would at least partially privatize Social Security and Medicare, offering future retirees better benefits and more choice. But these reforms rarely get anywhere because Democrats demagogue them, using precisely the same language Trump is now deploying.

But Trump’s most troubling attack line to date involves COVID. Here’s a verbatim Trump post from Truth Social this week:

Under Ron DeSanctimonious as Governor, Florida was the third WORST State in Deaths by Covid. So why do they say that DeSanctus did a good job? New York had fewer deaths! Also, he shut down the State, and even its beaches (unlike other Republican Governors).

Say what?

Let’s rewind the tape. Among the many egregious and unpardonable failings of Cuomo during COVID was that he forced hospitals to send seniors back to nursing homes even if they had COVID, where the disease then claimed a multitude of lives. (We wrote about this way back in May 2020.) Cuomo later tried to hide his grim death toll.

Cuomo, like other liberal governors, also bulldozed his state’s economy with strict lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, and more, pushing unemployment up to almost 17%. Even now, New York’s unemployment rate is well above the national average at 4%. Florida’s jobless rate, meanwhile, never rose above 14%, came down much faster, and today is just 2.6% – and that’s despite the massive inflow of people to the Sunshine State from lockdown states such as New York over the past three years.

Remember, too, that the left lionized Cuomo’s handling of COVID, and called DeSantis a murderer for not following New York’s lead.

But Trump’s facts are wrong, too.

The Centers for Disease Control reports 80,568 COVID deaths in New York and 78,642 in Florida. On a per-capita basis, New York’s death count is 406 per 100,000, compared with 361 per 100,000 in Florida.

The most accurate way to measure COVID deaths is on an age-adjusted basis, given that the vast majority of COVID deaths have been among the elderly. When you do that, Florida does even better by comparison – at 245 per 100,000 vs. 312 for New York.

So, under DeSantis, Florida suffered fewer COVID deaths, created more prosperity, and became a beacon of freedom in the country. And Trump is siding with Cuomo?

We get it that Trump wants to drive DeSantis out of the primaries, and there’s little for him to attack from the right, given that DeSantis has made remarkable gains for conservatives in his home state, and was richly rewarded for it by voters in November.

But by attacking DeSantis from the left, Trump risks boxing himself in should he win the nomination. Plus, he’s not doing conservatives any favors.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Thank you for allowing comments.

    Trump know changing entitlements in the short term will kill any movement; he already demonstrated he will grow the economy to the point where we can afford them. Don’t read too much into this as it has always been his goal – and he was succeeding until the multinational UniParty establishment took him out.

    • True, but that’s not what Trump said. He insults the intelligence of Republicans with these type of comments on the Fair Tax and DeSantis’s Covid response.

      • Florida does rank third in covid deaths and DeSantis locked down with the best of them. Georgia was the first state to open up and Texas was the first to unmask.

        We already know that Trump would be in favor of a different tax system and unlike most republicans he also understands things like abolishing the IRS won’t fly in his lifetime because congress will not move to do it. I seem to recall that Ronaldus ran into the same wall regarding the Dept of Education.

      • So…he is for a “fair tax”… Who isn’t? In practice, he has shown a Hamiltonian bent in reducing taxes on,Americans and levying tariffs on imports and fees on those who use goods and services… Look,at what politicians do, not what they say.

      • Sorry, but I don’t see any support for a Fair Tax in his statement. I’m aware of what he’s done in the past. What I find perplexing is his personal attacks and the use of stupid nicknames regarding Republicans. He has an excellent record to run on and Biteme provides plenty of issues to attack.

  • i’ll say this for Trump. he’ll tell his opponents what he thinks to their face-in public. DeSantis is a backstabber of the worst kind so boo hoo on how Trump is attacking him. Who cares?

  • These days? Lockdown Don has been a liberal Democrat his entire life.

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