Ah, all right, so … well, what is going on here is that Donald Trump is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. And both polls and “insider chatter” (stuff on Twitter) suggest that his main rival for that nomination will be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—a onetime supporter of his who has not formally declared that he is running, but who is reportedly preparing to do so.
DeSantis’ appeal to right-wing pundits and primary voters is that, like Trump, he has proven himself as a crusader against “woke” social trends and pressures, but unlike Trump, he does not carry the baggage of having led an insurrection against the government or otherwise personally alienated every swing voter in the country. One of the “woke” phenomena that DeSantis objects to is the discussion of, let’s say, non-heterosexual sexuality in public school; last spring, his press secretary created a national frenzy by repeatedly arguing that discussing LGBTQ issues with students is a way to “groom” them for sexual molestation.
Trump is upset by the hype DeSantis is getting and, on Tuesday, he turned the tables on the governor, circulating some extremely low-evidence accusations made by users of his Truth Social site that DeSantis engaged in the “grooming” of minors during a year that he spent teaching high school two decades ago. (The “evidence” was a blurry photo of, allegedly, a young DeSantis at a party. DeSantis has not been accused of sexual misconduct by any authority.)
On Wednesday, DeSantis was asked about this during a press conference. His words were mundane: “I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden. That’s how I spend my time. I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans,” said the governor. The setting in which he delivered them was … less mundane:
DeSantis proposed lifting a tax on gas stoves after a culture war mini-cycle in early January about whether the appliances should be regulated due to health concerns. He has also apparently made a similar proposal regarding diapers, though not one that exists, to Slate’s knowledge, within any framework of owning libs. The ostensible purpose of the event he held Wednesday was to promote these and other tax proposals, hence the piles of stoves and diapers.
So, that’s why you might have seen a photo of Ron DeSantis standing between boxes of diapers and answering a question about whether he is a perverted sex criminal/freak. The primary is off to a great start, and things are only going to get much, much worse from here!