As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis campaigns across the country for the GOP presidential nomination, he’s also still in charge of running his state. And some of his work as governor has spilled onto the campaign trail.
On Tuesday, DeSantis vetoed a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, which would have allowed Floridians to expunge their criminal record if the charges were dropped or they were found not guilty, per NBC News’ Matt Dixon. The move comes as DeSantis has tried to move to Trump’s right on criminal justice, vowing to repeal the First Step Act, one of Trump’s signature pieces of legislation, despite supporting an earlier version of the bill when DeSantis was in Congress.
As governor, DeSantis has also clashed with Disney, highlighting his battle with the company as emblematic of his fight against “woke” policies. That fight is also playing out in court, and DeSantis’ attorneys this week asked that the trial be delayed until after the 2024 election.
DeSantis’ time as governor is also facing more scrutiny. And on Thursday, the Washington Post reported that DeSantis’ administration “steered $92 million last year in leftover federal coronavirus stimulus money to a controversial highway interchange project that directly benefits a top political donor.” A DeSantis spokesman accused the Post of “trying to make an accusation to play ‘gotcha.’”
Meanwhile, DeSantis continues to lay out his presidential vision, suggesting during a Fox news appearance on Wednesday that he might eliminate four government agencies, saying, “We would do Education, we would do Commerce, we’d do Energy, and we would do IRS.”
In other campaign news …
“Hands off my family”: NBC News’ Carol E. Lee and Monica Alba report on how President Biden has told his top aides that he doesn’t want to hear political advice related to his son, Hunter.
Bidenomics: Biden traveled to Chicago Wednesday to tout his economic vision, blasting trickle-down economics, per NBC News’ Summer Concepcion, Mike Memoli, Sally Bronston and Rebecca Shabad.
Countersuit: Trump is suing writer E. Jean Carroll for defamation — a jury awarded her damages last month related to her allegations Trump sexually abused and defamed her.
PAC map flap: ABC News reports that top Trump advisor Susie Wiles is the unnamed person in the indictment against Trump — regarding the former president showing a classified map during a meeting.
Burgmentum: North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum placed another $800,000 in TV ads, per AdImpact, and is up with a new spot criticizing Biden’s energy policy.
Parental control: GOP presidential candidates are flocking to the “Moms for Liberty” summit this weekend. NBC News’ Tyler Kincade writes that the group does not plan to endorse in the primary, but the candidates are still courting the group “in large part because of the outsize influence its chapters have had on the local level.”
Primary play: Some Senate Republicans are scrambling to avoid a messy primary in Montana after former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy jumped into the race this week. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines, R-Mont., told Politico that he is encouraging GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale to say in the House to “build seniority” and “help Republicans hold their majority.” And Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte endorsed Sheehy, per the campaign.
Stepping down: A county elections director in Arizona stepped down this week, citing “intimidation,” per NBC News’ Michael Mitsanas.