To conservative firebrand Ann Coulter, there’s no debate over whether the “king of Florida” is GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis or former President Donald Trump.
“Trump is done. You guys should stop obsessing over him,” Coulter wrote in an email to The New York Times, which recently examined tension between DeSantis and Trump.
Though it came at the end of the story, Coulter’s quote got the internet’s attention. Trump supporters took to Twitter to point out the crowd at Trump’s recent rally in Arizona, and to say that it’s Coulter, not Trump, who is done. Others, however, took Coulter’s remark to be proof that Trump has no chance to win the presidency in 2024, given that she was one of his supporters in 2016.
In fact, Coulter v. Trump is a rematch with all the suspense and excitement of “Rocky VIII.” Coulter’s support of Trump was always dependent on his immigration policy, and once it became clear he would not deliver the promised wall on the southern border, she turned on him.
Coulter foreshadowed this plot twist in her 2016 book “In Trump We Trust,” when she wrote, “Until the bleeding has stopped, there’s nothing Trump can do that won’t be forgiven. Except change his immigration policies.”
Hmmm...Ann Coulter is done and has been for quite some time she just hasn't gotten the email.— Bkayvanwinkle (@bkayvanwinkle) January 18, 2022
The turnaround came quickly. Just seven months after Trump took office, Coulter was already criticizing the president and his team, saying, “You know I love the Emperor God, but he does have flaws. And one of them is his vast, yawning narcissism.”
By 2018, she had called Trump a “shallow, lazy ignoramus.” In 2019, she called him an idiot. In May 2020, she called him “a shallow and broken man,” and she told Andrew Sullivan in November 2021 that Trump is “abjectly stupid.”
For his part, Trump at first said little about Coulter, responding to her criticism in 2019 by saying he barely knew her, but “Probably if I did speak to her, she’d be really nice.” Soon, however, he was calling her a “wacky nut job.”
I will never apologize for supporting the issues that candidate Trump advocated, but I am deeply sorry for thinking that this shallow and broken man would show even some remote fealty to the promises that got him elected. https://t.co/fIzHtmbOfR— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) May 24, 2020
For all of her ad hominem attacks on Trump, Coulter seems to be motivated not so much by personal animosity, but by her belief that America is being destroyed by unchecked immigration. In fact, writing for The Washington Post in 2015, Carlos Lozada speculated that Trump’s campaign rhetoric on immigration might have originated with the ideas in Coulter’s 2015 book “Adios, America!”
In DeSantis, a potential challenger to Trump in 2024, Coulter seems to have found rhetoric she likes. The governor’s team has put out news releases decrying the “flow of illegal aliens” and DeSantis has said, “(W)e have a responsibility to stand up against an administration that has decided they don’t want to have a secure border.”
On Twitter, Coulter is already musing about DeSantis’s potential running mate.
If he keeps this up, he might be DeSantis's V.P. https://t.co/EDWb71KZzu— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 16, 2022
Did Trump win in 2016 and lose in 2020 because of Coulter’s advocacy? It’s doubtful. Before his Twitter account was shut down, Trump had 88 million followers; Coulter has just under 2 million. Her superpower lately seems to be getting people to write “I never thought I’d agree with Ann Coulter but ...” on social media.
But Coulter haters would do well to remember the shocking prediction she made in 2015.
Then, Coulter said on “Real Time With Bill Maher” that of all the GOP candidates, Trump had the best chance of winning in 2016. The audience and other panelists found that hilarious. Coulter coolly stood by her statement. Now she says Trump is done.
Who’s laughing now? Probably not Trump.