Governor DeSantis launched an attack on Trump’s support for The First Step Act, a bill Trump championed with Democrats in 2018.
In fact DeSantis said he would seek to repeal the bill as president:
DeSantis tells @realDailyWire that he would repeal the First Step Act.
“It has allowed dangerous people out of prison who have now reoffended and really, really hurt a number of people” pic.twitter.com/lNMiRICjW2
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) May 26, 2023
Axios wrote about this today highlighting what DeSantis said in the video above and getting a response from Trump:
Last Friday, DeSantis told right-wing host Ben Shapiro that Trump had signed “basically a jailbreak bill” that “has allowed dangerous people out of prison who have now re-offended, and really, really hurt a number of people.”
DeSantis pledged that as president he would try to repeal the First Step Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill Trump signed that reduced some federal sentences considered excessive and sought to improve federal prisons.
Thousands of prisoners were made eligible for early release under the law but some of those released early have been arrested again for crimes, including murder.
In their response, the Trump campaigned claimed that DeSantis was a flip-flopper on the issue because he had voted for an earlier version of the bill before he resigned the House in 2018:
Asked whether Trump still supports the bill or if there are any parts he would change, the Trump campaign did not respond.
Instead, Trump’s team issued a statement portraying DeSantis as a flip-flopper because, as a member of Congress, he voted for an earlier version of the bill that had significant differences from the final legislation.
“He sounds just like John Kerry. What a phony,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung told Axios.
But as Axios points out, the earlier version of the bill was very different from the one Trump championed. In fact they point out that of the 57 Democrats who all voted against the earlier version of the bill that DeSantis had supported, they all voted for the bill that Trump went on to sign:
DeSantis resigned his House seat before the final vote in December 2018. The bill he voted for seven months earlier did not include several changes Democrats managed to get into the final version.
In May 2018, 226 Republicans voted for the earlier version of the bill; only two voted against it.
On the final version of the bill, 34 Republicans changed their votes from from “yes” to “no.” While 57 Democrats voted against the bill in May, zero voted “no” in December.
One of those 34 Republicans, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, told Axios that Trump’s attack was “not only disingenuous, it’s dishonest. They were completely two different bills.”
You don’t get massive turnarounds like that because the bill is essentially the same. So for Trump to suggest DeSantis supported the bill and is now only opposing it because he’s running against Trump – well that’s just flat wrong.