Ron DeSantis, facing challenges at home, will test presidential ambitions overseas

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Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, is certainly a man with presidential ambitions. He has made no secret of his desire to run for the White House, and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in his state has propelled him into the national spotlight. But as the governor considers a potential run for the presidency, he will have to confront some difficult challenges at home.

For starters, DeSantis is facing immense pressure from Democrats and public health officials who accuse him of mishandling the COVID-19 crisis in Florida. With more than 50,000 deaths and numerous outbreaks, Florida has become one of the hardest-hit states in the nation, and critics say that DeSantis’s refusal to implement a statewide mask mandate and his lax approach to social distancing have contributed to the high death toll.

But DeSantis remains steadfast in his belief that his handling of the pandemic has been successful, pointing to the fact that Florida has managed to keep its economy open and avoid the kinds of lockdowns that other states have implemented. He has also been an outspoken critic of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, accusing him of flip-flopping on COVID-related issues and politicizing the pandemic.

DeSantis’s relationship with the media has also been strained in recent months. He has come under fire for cracking down on reporters who he feels are spreading “fake news” about his administration, and some members of the news media have accused him of being hostile and uncooperative in their attempts to cover his press conferences.

But while DeSantis is certainly facing challenges at home, he is also looking to make a name for himself on the global stage. In June, the governor embarked on a trade mission to Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials to discuss ways in which the two countries could strengthen their economic ties.

The trip was seen as a major opportunity for DeSantis to establish himself as a foreign policy expert and bolster his credentials as a potential presidential candidate. And while the trip was not without controversy (some critics of DeSantis accused him of using the trip as a way to cozy up to pro-Israel voters), it was generally seen as a success, with the governor accomplishing many of his stated goals.

But DeSantis’s ambitions on the global stage may be stymied by his controversial policies and rhetoric at home. His resistance to mask mandates and other public health measures has earned him criticism from health officials and lawmakers across the political spectrum, and his efforts to restrict voting access in Florida have also drawn widespread condemnation.

Moreover, DeSantis’s close ties to former President Donald Trump could hinder his efforts to expand his base of support. While Trump remains a powerful figure in the Republican Party, his legacy has been tainted by his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and his role in inciting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in January. Some Republican strategists worry that DeSantis’s association with Trump could turn off moderate and independent voters.

Despite these challenges, however, DeSantis remains a popular figure among many conservatives, who admire his tough-on-crime stance and his opposition to progressive policies like critical race theory and “defunding the police.” And as the 2024 presidential campaign ramps up, it is clear that DeSantis will be a formidable contender in the Republican primary.

Overall, Ron DeSantis is a complicated figure with both domestic and international ambitions. While he faces significant challenges at home, he is also looking to establish himself as a major player on the global stage. Whether he can succeed in both arenas will depend on how he navigates the tricky waters of American politics in the years to come.