ATLANTA, GEORGIA — The MAGA movement is desperately trying to turn an interview with Ron DeSantis into a deliberate attack on Trump voters, says former senior Trump administration official and ex-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. He calls the outrage “incredibly lame and manufactured.”
Cuccinelli, who served as acting deputy Homeland Security secretary under former President Trump during his final year in office, launched the super PAC Never Back Down in February because he believes DeSantis is the leader and fighter who will take the Republican Party to victory in 2024.
IT’S THE PRINCIPLES THAT MATTER
On CNN’s State of the Union, Cuccinelli was shown a viral clip of The Florida Standard’s interview with Ron DeSantis and asked for comment. But instead, he called out CNN for using a cut version of the video, urging viewers to watch the full interview or read the entire transcript.
Cuccinelli says the word RINO doesn’t apply to conservatives, but to the middling Republicans who might work with the other side. A movement, Cuccinelli says, shouldn’t only be about a person or its leader. It should be about the principles behind the movement that help improve Americans’ lives.
DeSantis’ emphasis was to collectively include anyone, Cuccinelli says – even himself.
“He [DeSantis] was using the word ‘we,’” Cuccinelli says, noting that DeSantis didn’t call Trump supporters names. Cuccinelli says the desperate effort to turn this into a motivating attack is “incredibly lame and manufactured.”
“It diminishes where actual victimhood occurs, for example, the weaponization of the justice system,” Cuccinelli said. “I think people see it for what it is.”
Heading into Wednesday’s debate, Cuccinelli says DeSantis is focused on his vision for the country and achieving goals that will make Americans’ lives better.
“He’s accomplished more as a chief executive than anybody else in my lifetime from a conservative standpoint,” Cuccinelli said. “To then cast that forward as a vision for the future for the whole country and apply it to people’s lives – I’m looking forward to that.”
But DeSantis has also been attacked more than Trump and Biden combined, something Cuccinelli says he saw coming. He always pictured DeSantis as the biggest threat in the 2024 election cycle and now sees DeSantis as the candidate with the best ground game and strongest direct contact with voters.
“People are looking for a total shootout and fireworks show, but I don’t think that’s what you’ll get in a debate,” Cuccinelli told The Florida Standard. “This is the first chance for millions of people to see Ron DeSantis without the filter of the press.”