OAN lines up for Trump 2024, calling DeSantis rivalry an establishment plot

One America News Network says Trump’s “scars” and “bloodstains” prove his strength for 2024 -- and warns DeSantis that establishment “dinosaurs” are trying to use him to fracture the MAGA movement

Predictably, One America News Network reacted to former President Donald Trump’s announcement of a 2024 campaign with jubilation. 

“There you have it — 45th president Donald Trump announcing America’s comeback will happen right now,” declared an OAN anchor, roughly quoting a line from the speech.

The morning after, OAN anchor Stephanie Myers reported that Trump promised “to immediately tackle record-high inflation and restore border security” in a speech OAN suggested was filled with policy priorities. OAN also highlighted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for becoming “one of the first high-profile Republicans to board the Trump train” for 2024.

Prior to the speech, OAN’s buildup to the announcement also contained heaps of praise for Trump -- along with warnings for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen as a potential 2024 rival for Trump, to essentially wait his turn.

On November 14, White House correspondent Chanel Rion appeared on Real America to frame the campaign announcement as “a test from Donald Trump, about who’s going to support him and who has bailed on him in favor of DeSantis.”

The host, Dan Ball, also had a 10-minute monologue about “the mainstream media, Democrats, and RINOs … all teaming up against Trump, trying to cause turmoil in the Republican Party.” Ball accused “old dinosaurs within the GOP” like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of “courting DeSantis, trying to push him to run in hopes of getting rid of” Trump. Ball warned that “it would be political suicide for him to go up against the MAGA movement -- that, oh by the way, helped build Ron DeSantis.” 

Ball stressed that this was not meant as an attack on the Florida governor: “I’m not saying that Ron DeSantis wouldn’t be a great leader for this country. He may, in time. But has he taken the licks and the kicks? Does he have the scars and the bloodstains to prove it? Because Donald Trump and his family have, for seven years. And he’s got unfinished business to try and drain more of that swamp.”

“This is what the establishment wants,” Ball said of the New York Post pushing a Trump-DeSantis rivalry. “And we need to stop the fighting and come together for the greater cause, which is stopping the left from destroying this country.”

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Citation From the November 14, 2022, edition of OAN's Real America with Dan Ball

A guest on In Focus made a similar point on November 15, claiming that the apparent Trump-DeSantis rivalry comes from a Democratic National Committee effort to destroy DeSantis’ political career. 

The Media Research Center’s Matt Philbin told host Addison Smith that as soon as “the scale of DeSantis’ victory and the Republican, essentially, sweep in Florida became apparent, marching orders went out from the DNC that it’s time to slime DeSantis. It’s time to put him up against Trump” to “undermine him” and split the MAGA movement. Smith concurred, saying that “there’s an obvious coordinated effort” to pit Trump against DeSantis, going back more than a year. 

In another attempt to throw cold water on the rivalry, OAN reported on November 16 that DeSantis is “downplaying media claims of his rift with President Trump, saying it’s all just noise” and “there’s not much to” Trump’s own criticisms of the governor.

OAN has tried to toe a delicate line between Trump and DeSantis for months, but as conservatives deal with midterm fallout and the 2024 election season begins, OAN is having to be more clear about what founder and owner Robert Herring implied when he said the Florida governor would make a good vice president: DeSantis is good, but Trump is the best.