Donald Trump launched a disgusting attack on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last week and the media responded with a shrug, muttering about the same old Donald.

This shot across the bow, implying that DeSantis groomed young girls when he was a teacher in Florida, goes far beyond the pale.

It also tells you why DeSantis will never be president as long as the Trump hate machine is active. And active it is.

As The New York Times reported, “Mr. Trump’s team has been amassing data about Mr. DeSantis’s part to try to depict him as a phony.”

That’s the killer attack machine that left Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and early challengers in the 2016 primary drowning in the wake of the Trump tide of ridicule, name-calling, and innuendo.

This is the same guy who stated that Cruz’s father had played a part in the assassination of JFK, offering only a wacky mudslinging tabloid report for proof.

No matter how much DeSantis tries he will not escape the Trump treatment, as the former president will hone in like a laser on his top opponent for the GOP presidential nomination.

The Times also reported that Trump calls DeSantis a thinly disguised anti-Italian insult, using the term Meatball Ron.

The media once again took the bait, reprinting the ethnic slur without any context about what it meant. So expect the barrage to begin with a farrago of lies, accusations, and slurs.

Worse for the Republican Party, having allowed Trumpism to pollute their ranks, they now own that horrible cocktail mix of hatred and racism.

The worst is yet to come. There is about a 50-50 chance that Trump will not win the nomination which will spark a round of vicious in-fighting.

Make no mistake, Trump would run as a devout Muslim if it meant he could become president again. He has no interests but his own and will be furious but not powerless if he loses the GOP nomination.

He will run as an independent to destroy DeSantis or whoever beats him. He has long since abandoned any pretext that he is a devout Republican who will accept his party’s verdict.

Besides, he will be far more difficult to beat than folks think. The GOP primary election is a winner takes all system, unlike the Democrats where votes are counted in proportion to the total vote. So a Democrat could win the New Hampshire primary by 50-48 but would only get half the votes allotted.

Trump, on the other hand, has only to get a majority of the votes which he would likely do in a divided and crowded primary race, to win a state.

Former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

Former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

If he doesn’t win he will no doubt run as an independent, knocking into a cocked hat any hope the GOP would have of winning the general.

Honestly, it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people who have twisted themselves like pretzels to accommodate the twisted Trump who tried to end democracy.

The only guy happier than Trump if he wins the GOP nomination will be Joe Biden, who has proven he can beat Trump in the presidential arena.

As for DeSantis, he has only one option – take on Trump at his own game. Any softly-softly attempt to sneak by no matter the insults are bound to fail. 

DeSantis will never know what hits him if he plays that game. Ask Low Energy Jeb Bush or Lyin’ Ted Cruz.

*This column first appeared in the February 15 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.