DeSantis out-polls Trump as ex-president hosts ‘Libs of Tik Tok’ and Babylon Bee dinner

Ron DeSantis has reason to celebrate as Donald Trump makes an overt pitch to his party’s base his first item on the 2023 agenda.

The Florida governor, who has not yet announced a 2024 campaign, was leading the former president in a straw poll of the North Carolina Faith and Freedom Coalition released on Wednesday; the poll is one of the reliablie bellwethers for tracking the support of white evangelicals active in Republican Party presidential primaries.

Mr DeSantis led the former president by an astounding 12 percentage points in the survey results released on Wednesday; that margin is a serious blow to Mr Trump’s narrative depicting a continued dominance by him of the Republican Party writ large, a narrative reinforced by selective poll results he regularly highlights on Truth Social.

The results of the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s straw poll come as Mr Trump is making a clear ploy to shore up his party base ahead of any potential challenges to his domination in 2024.

On Tuesday he was photographed meeting Chaya Raichik, the right-wing Twitter personality celebrated by conservatives and reviled by the left for her Twitter account known as “LibsofTikTok”, a channel devoted to singling out people perceived as members of the LGBT community or otherwise identified as “Democrats” by right-wingers.

“I asked him if his first tweet back can be retweeting this,” wrote Ms Raichik, referring to Mr Trump’s unbanning from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The account has been blamed for encouraging abuse against Americans with zero public significance, allegedly leading to suicides and targets of Ms Raichik’s posts going into hiding over fears of violent threats.

At the same time, Mr Trump’s Truth Social account has been consumed by criticism of the multitude of criminal and civil investigations now levied against him as well as his own efforts to depict himself as the inevitable GOP candidate for 2024.