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    Trump and DeSantis Meet in Florida for First Time Since Bruising Primary

    Donald J. Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida met on Sunday morning, according to three people briefed on the meeting, the first time they’ve done so since the end of a bruising Republican presidential primary that Mr. Trump won while relentlessly attacking Mr. DeSantis.The meeting — which took place in Hollywood, Fla., according to one of the people briefed on the meeting — was the result of a weekslong effort by a longtime friend of Mr. Trump, the real-estate investor Steve Witkoff, who also has a relationship with Mr. DeSantis. The three men met alone in a private room at Shell Bay, Mr. Witkoff’s development and golf club, according to the person briefed on the meeting.Mr. Trump is looking to bolster his fund-raising, an ability Mr. DeSantis demonstrated during the primary by tapping into a network of well-funded donors. And Mr. DeSantis — who has made clear he is interested in running for president again in 2028 — is seeking to shed the negative weight of his disappointing campaign. The meeting was reported earlier by The Washington Post.A spokesman for Mr. Trump didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. A spokesman for Mr. DeSantis declined to comment.Mr. DeSantis is not seen as a contender to join a Republican ticket with Mr. Trump, who is both the presumptive Republican nominee and on trial in Manhattan on charges he falsified business records to conceal hush-money payments to a porn star in the 2016 election. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis have made clear that such a pairing doesn’t interest either of them, and they also live in the same state, which would make it an unconstitutional pairing unless one of them were to move out of Florida, which is unlikely to happen, especially since Mr. DeSantis is currently the governor.Mr. DeSantis had been seen as Mr. Trump’s chief intraparty competition, and he was the target the Trump team focused on for months. The tensions between the two men — and their aides — often boiled over during the primary race. Mr. Trump excoriated Mr. DeSantis during the campaign, nicknaming him “Ron DeSanctimonious,” and criticizing him as being disloyal. Mr. DeSantis also claimed that Mr. Trump was unelectable at various points during his primary campaign, which was plagued by missteps and accusations of mismanagement.Recently, Mr. DeSantis held a donor event the same weekend that Mr. Trump held a large fund-raiser for his campaign. During the fund-raiser, Mr. Trump revived the “DeSanctimonious” nickname, according to an attendee.Still, allies of both men say it is politically beneficial for them to come together for the 2024 campaign and beyond. More

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    Trump Fund-Raiser Rakes In More Than $50.5 Million, Campaign Says

    For several hours on Saturday evening, drivers on a typically scenic stretch of Palm Beach, Fla., had their views of the coast obscured by a line of luxury vehicles whose owners were mingling inside a mansion across the road.The shoreline-blocking Range Rovers, Aston Martins and Bentleys hinted at the deep-pocketed donors attending a fund-raising dinner for former President Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, which it and the Republican National Committee said had raised more than $50.5 million.The event, hosted by the billionaire John Paulson at his home, followed a concerted push by the Trump campaign to address a longstanding financial disparity with President Biden and Democrats as both parties gear up for the general election.The reported total, which cannot be independently verified ahead of campaign finance filings in the coming months, is nearly double the $26 million that President Biden’s campaign said it raised last month at a celebrity-studded event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, senior advisers to the former president who are effectively his campaign managers, said in a statement that the total made it “clearer than ever that we have the message, the operation and the money to propel President Trump to victory on November 5.”Mr. Trump’s event, just down the road from his home at Mar-a-Lago, was in some ways a less flashy affair than its Democratic antecedent, one that traded Hollywood star power and New York City energy for a warmer clime, an abundance of palm trees and the manicured lawns typical of an island refuge for the moneyed elite.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    DeSantis Signs Social Media Bill Barring Accounts for Children Under 14

    A new Florida law also requires apps like TikTok and Snapchat to obtain a parent’s consent before giving accounts to 14- and 15-year-olds.Florida on Monday became the first state to effectively bar residents under the age of 14 from holding accounts on services like TikTok and Instagram, enacting a strict social media bill that is likely to upend the lives of many young people.The landmark law, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is one of the more restrictive measures that a state has enacted so far in an escalating nationwide push to insulate young people from potential mental health and safety risks on social media platforms. The statute both prohibits certain social networks from giving accounts to children under 14 and requires the services to terminate accounts that a platform knew or believed belonged to underage users.It also requires the platforms to obtain a parent’s permission before giving accounts to 14- and 15-year-olds.In a press conference on Monday, Mr. DeSantis hailed the measure, saying it will help parents navigate “difficult terrain” online. He added that “being buried” in devices all day long was not the best way to grow up.“Social media harms children in a variety of ways,” Mr. DeSantis said in a statement. The new bill “gives parents a greater ability to protect their children”Mr. DeSantis had vetoed a previous bill that would have banned social media accounts for 14- and 15-year-olds even with parental consent. The governor said the earlier bill would impinge on parents’ rights to make decisions about their children’s online activities.The new Florida measure is almost certain to face constitutional challenges over young people’s rights to freely seek information and companies’ rights to distribute information.Federal judges in several other states have recently halted less-restrictive online safety laws on free speech grounds in response to lawsuits brought by NetChoice, a tech industry trade group that represents firms including Meta, Snap and TikTok.Judges in Ohio and Arkansas, for instance, have blocked laws in those states that would require certain social networks to verify users’ ages and obtain a parent’s permission before giving accounts to children under 16 or 18. A federal judge in California has halted a law in that state that would require certain social networks and video game apps to turn on the highest privacy settings by default for minors and turn off by default certain features, like auto-playing videos, for those users.In addition to social media age restrictions, the new Florida statute requires online pornography services to use age-verification systems to keep minors off their platforms.Apps like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram already have policies prohibiting children under the age of 13. That is because the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires certain online services to obtain parental permission before collecting personal information — like full names, contact information, locations or selfie photos — from children under 13.But state regulators say millions of underage children have been able to sign up for social media accounts simply by providing false birth dates. More

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    University of Florida Eliminates All D.E.I.-Related Positions

    The move complies with a state law that barred public universities from using government funds for initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.The University of Florida has terminated all positions associated with diversity, equity and inclusion at the school in compliance with new state regulations, according to a university memo released on Friday. The move comes almost a year after Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bill that largely banned the state’s public universities and colleges from spending federal or state money on D.E.I. initiatives. In accordance with that law, Florida’s Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System of Florida, also voted to prohibit state spending on such programs at public universities. The University of Florida’s terminations included closing the office of the chief diversity officer and halting all D.E.I. contracts with outside vendors, according to the announcement on Friday. Thirteen full-time positions were eliminated, along with administrative appointments for 15 faculty members, a spokeswoman for the university said in an email. The university is just the latest school in the state to eliminate D.E.I. programs. Both the University of North Florida and Florida International University have already removed or started to phase out such programs. Last year, Florida became one of the first states to enact laws restricting or eliminating D.E.I. initiatives. That prompted other Republican-led states to follow suit, including Texas, where a ban on D.E.I. initiatives and offices at publicly funded universities and colleges took effect on Jan. 1. In Utah, the governor last month signed a bill paring back D.E.I. programs at state universities and in state government. And the Alabama Legislature is considering similar legislation. Universities across the country have vastly expanded diversity programs in recent decades amid concerns over underrepresentation on campus. Supporters of D.E.I. have said that the initiatives are a good way to foster inclusion and that they help students from all backgrounds succeed on campus.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    DeSantis, in Private Call, Sounds Off on Trump and Conservative News Media

    Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida told supporters in a call on Wednesday that he would not want to be Donald J. Trump’s vice president, suggested it would be a “mistake” for Mr. Trump to consider “identity politics” in making his selection for a running mate and left wide open the door to a 2028 presidential run.“I haven’t ruled anything out,” Mr. DeSantis said of a 2028 presidential run, as he outlined plans to stay involved in politics beyond Florida.In a more than 30-minute call held to thank backers who had volunteered to serve as his presidential delegates, the governor was unusually candid in assessing his failed 2024 campaign a month after he dropped out of the race. He also sounded off on conservative news media outlets that he said had backed the former president over him.He also spoke about “all the baggage Trump has” as a concern for Republicans headed into the fall, but said that President Biden was “going to be the gift that keeps on giving.”And he expressed no regrets about his run for the party’s presidential nomination, though he was frustrated that “the race ended up being an incumbent race.”“The dynamics of the race were, he kept getting indicted, and he drew more support out of sympathy for that,” Mr. DeSantis said of Mr. Trump at one point.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    A Radical Proposal for Nikki Haley: Try to Win More Votes

    Nikki Haley lost the New Hampshire primary but found a cause: getting under Donald Trump’s not exactly rhinoceros-thick skin. The story of the Republican primary campaign in the days since Trump’s victory has been one where the victor acts like a sore loser and the likely loser loosens up, goads her stronger rival and finds a pool of small-dollar donors to keep her in the race.Haley’s turn toward mockery and confrontation has created modest excitement in the disillusioned world of NeverTrump punditry. Maybe the remaining non-Trump Republican is giving up on being vice president or winning some future G.O.P. primary campaign. Maybe she’s ready to make Trump’s unfitness her exclusive theme. Maybe, as The Dispatch’s Nick Catoggio speculates, by needling and attacking and bringing out Trump’s worst behavior, she can even bring about the long-awaited Republican crackup that would finally defeat Trump on the scale that he deserves.I don’t think this hope makes a lot of sense. The idea that there exists some form of elite Republican denunciation, combined with egregious Trumpian misbehavior, that could shatter the G.O.P. coalition and send him to a Barry Goldwater or George McGovern-style defeat, seemed plausible enough eight years ago. It’s what I expected and what Republicans deserved.But I should have heeded the wisdom of Bill Munny in Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven”: “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” Because since then we’ve seen all kinds of terrible behavior, coupled with attempted repudiations from all sorts of Republicans, including Trump’s own aides and cabinet appointees. And yet the rule has held: Ask people if they like Trump and majorities do not, but put Trump up against the current Democratic Party, and he becomes a viable candidate for president.Maybe Haley is the right figure to change that. But she has nowhere near the pre-Trump fame of a Mitt Romney or the ideological credibility of a Liz Cheney. And based on what we saw from Chris Christie’s campaign, a pure repudiate-Trump candidacy is only likely to enhance Trump’s margins in the remaining primaries, emphasizing Haley’s hopelessness rather than her gumption.Moreover, wouldn’t there be something a little bit strange, after two consecutive primary campaigns in which Republicans desperately competed for a chance to face off with Trump one-on-one, for the winner of that prize to immediately give up on winning any more supporters? Haley’s consolidation of gentry Republicans succeeded in boxing out Ron DeSantis’s attempt to build a larger non-Trump coalition. Is she really not even going to attempt to build a larger coalition of her own?We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber?  More

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    Did No One Tell Ron DeSantis That Trump Was Running, Too?

    Despite the early enthusiasm for his policies and political persona in various corners of the conservative media, it was easy to see from the start that Ron DeSantis would not — and clearly does not — have the juice to defeat or supplant Donald Trump in a Republican presidential primary.Part of this was the Florida governor’s soft skills or rather lack thereof. He is not a people person. He does not excel at the task of retail politics. He is not, to put it gently, strong on the stump, and he has a bad habit of speaking in the esoteric and jargon-filled language of online conservatives.Consider his first major performance in Iowa last year, in front of an audience of likely Republican caucusgoers. “We say very clearly in the state of Florida that we will fight the woke in the Legislature,” DeSantis said, as he tried to rouse the crowd to applause. “We will fight the woke in education, we will fight the woke in the businesses, we will never ever surrender to the woke mob. Our state is where woke goes to die.”There is a relatively small group of people for whom this is a resonant message. For everyone else, it is basically static. It doesn’t speak to the animating concerns of the blue-collar voters who will make or break a campaign in the Republican primary. DeSantis’s inability to craft a compelling message, however, may not have been fatal to his campaign if he had been able to distance or distinguish himself from Trump in any meaningful way. The opportunities were there. DeSantis could have used the multiple criminal indictments against the former president to make the practical case that Trump would not win if he was in jail.But DeSantis chose to run as Trump’s heir apparent and treated him as though he wasn’t actually in the race. He could not turn on the former president without undermining the premise of his own campaign. And so DeSantis sat silent or even defended Trump against legal accountability for his actions in office. “Washington, D.C. is a ‘swamp’ and it is unfair to have to stand trial before a jury that is reflective of the swamp mentality,” DeSantis wrote on the website formerly known as Twitter after Trump was charged with four felony counts by a federal grand jury in connection with his effort to overturn the 2020 election. “One of the reasons our country is in decline is the politicization of the rule of law. No more excuses — I will end the weaponization of the federal government.”To the extent that DeSantis tried to differentiate himself from the former president, it was by running to Trump’s political right. The Florida governor in this view would be a more competent Trump — the Trump who gets things done. It was a good pitch for the conservative intellectuals who wanted to support a Trump-like figure without embracing Trump himself. But it was a terrible pitch to the Republican electorate, which did not nominate Trump in 2016 — or turn out in 2020 — because of Trump’s ability to clear a checklist of agenda items.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber?  More

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    Trump’s Campaign of Humiliation Against Ron DeSantis

    The former president’s brutal, yearlong campaign of humiliation helped torpedo the Florida governor’s White House hopes and left his next moves in politics uncertain.Donald J. Trump plumbed new depths of degradation in his savage takedown of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a yearlong campaign of emasculation and humiliation that helped force one of the party’s rising stars out of the presidential race after just one contest and left him to pick up the pieces of his political future.In front of enormous rally audiences, Mr. Trump painted Mr. DeSantis as a submissive sniveler, insisting that he had cried and begged “on his knees” for an endorsement in the 2018 Florida governor’s race.In a series of sexually charged attacks, Mr. Trump suggested — without a shred of proof — that Mr. DeSantis wore high heels, that he might be gay and that perhaps he was a pedophile.He promised that intense national scrutiny would leave Mr. DeSantis whining for “mommy.”Mr. DeSantis shied from fighting back, which only inflicted more pain on his campaign. The governor had portrayed himself as one of the Republican Party’s fiercest political brawlers, but he pulled his punches in the most important race of his life.Now he is both defeated and debased. His departure from the race on Sunday was a far fall from grace after opening his campaign as the heir apparent in a Trumpified Republican Party. Rehabilitating that reputation as he considers his next political move will require plenty of repair work with donors and Republican voters, thanks to Mr. Trump’s ruthless parade of insults over 242 days on the campaign trail.“I don’t care if he’s a Republican,” Mr. Trump said of his belittlement of Mr. DeSantis at a November gathering of the Republican Party of Florida — the governor’s home turf. “We hit him hard, and now he’s like a wounded falling bird from the skies.”But even more crushing was Mr. DeSantis’s response, or lack thereof.After releasing a campaign video in 2022 that made him out to be a political fighter sent from the heavens, he appeared either unwilling or unable to swing back at Mr. Trump or go on the attack. Even Mr. Trump’s aides were surprised that the DeSantis campaign did not go harder at the former president on issues where he might be vulnerable with conservatives, like abortion.And the prickly nature of Mr. DeSantis’s personality, which could manifest itself in an awkward mix of detachment, moodiness and facial tics, amounted to an irresistible target for Mr. Trump, who seemed to relish bullying Mr. DeSantis as if he were stuffing a freshman in a high school locker.Still, Mr. DeSantis remains popular in his home state, and beyond Florida he’s viewed relatively favorably. As a presidential candidate, he needed to succeed where every Republican before him had failed: prying loyal Trump supporters away from the former president without alienating them.Staff members from Mr. DeSantis’s campaign gathered on Sunday at a restaurant in Manchester, N.H., hours after he suspended his bid for president.Sophie Park for The New York TimesMr. Trump has long trampled over the boundaries of generally accepted political behavior, relentlessly pushing the racist “birther” lie about President Barack Obama and urging supporters to lock up Hillary Clinton. But his campaign hit new levels of cruelty against a fellow Republican.The missives were often led by Mr. Trump’s chief spokesman, Steven Cheung, who leaned into his background as a public relations operative for the Ultimate Fighting Championship to deliver brutal slams with the force of the sport’s suffocating guillotine chokehold.In November, Mr. Cheung told The Wall Street Journal that in Iowa, Mr. DeSantis would face “unimaginable pain that he’s never felt before in his life.”In a news release, he cast doubt on Mr. DeSantis’s masculinity, saying that he walked like “a 10-year-old girl who had just raided her mom’s closet and discovered heels for the first time.”Mr. Cheung also referred to the Florida governor as a “desperate eunuch,” questioned why Mr. DeSantis would “cuck himself” in front of the entire country — sexual slang that implies weakness in a man — and accused him of searching for “new sugar daddies” to fund his campaign. He called Mr. DeSantis a “disloyal dog.”Mr. DeSantis fought back with a more traditional approach.His campaign rolled out a “Trump Accident Tracker” in a daily email to the news media that highlighted Mr. Trump’s missteps on the trail. He criticized Mr. Trump’s “juvenile insults,” saying voters did not like them. (The eruption of laughter inside Trump rallies suggested otherwise.)Mr. DeSantis eventually tried to up his game.Responding to accusations that he wore lifts in his cowboy boots to appear taller, Mr. DeSantis questioned Mr. Trump’s manhood.“If Donald Trump can summon the balls to show up to the debate, I’ll wear a boot on my head,” Mr. DeSantis said.The line did not seem to land. Mr. DeSantis himself has admitted that, unlike Mr. Trump, he is “not an entertainer.”At the same time, pro-Trump online influencers formed a troll army pumping out content like videos showing a man with Mr. DeSantis’s face being kicked in the groin. In comparison, Mr. DeSantis’s online operation proved haplessly inept.The differing approaches stemmed, in part, from a fixation on Mr. DeSantis inside Trump headquarters, where animosity for the governor ran high.Not only was Mr. Trump incensed by what he viewed as a striking lack of loyalty from Mr. DeSantis, but the Trump campaign also includes former DeSantis campaign aides who had been fired or felt otherwise mistreated by the Florida governor, including Susie Wiles, one of the former president’s closest confidantes. Many still had axes to grind.“Bye, bye,” Ms. Wiles posted on Sunday on social media about her erstwhile boss, who had tried to blackball her from Republican politics.The quick endorsement from Mr. DeSantis on Sunday may help salve some of those wounds. Hours later, Mr. Trump vowed that he would retire the “DeSanctimonious” nickname, and his allies began posting messages welcoming Mr. DeSantis back into the Trump fold.But aides said that Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis had still not talked.Asked about whether the two men could repair their relationship, Mr. Cheung held his fire.“We’re focused on New Hampshire,” he said.Ken Bensinger More