Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

If it wasn't clear to you before, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already started his campaign to be president.

The big picture: His hourlong town-hall appearance Wednesday night on Newsmax's "Spicer & Co." from The Villages was loaded with evidence that he's positioning himself for 2024.

  • He acknowledged his devotion to former President Trump on the same day the congressional GOP ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from its leadership for standing up to him. (She's also eyeing 2024, by the way.)
  • DeSantis said he golfed with Trump recently, and talks to him on the phone.
  • He also attacked President Biden at every turn.

A big tell: DeSantis made no memorable mention of his opponents or likely opponents for governor in 2022.

  • DeSantis barely won in 2018, so it's interesting that he passed on the opportunity to criticize major opponents, like Rep. Charlie Crist.

Between the lines: The often-uncurious "questions" he faced (for example, "Flip-flops or Crocs?" and "Crockett or Tubbs?") highlighted how the conservative media world functions as its own closed ecosystem.

  • DeSantis admitted to the hosts that he pays close attention to his public image because he's married to a former TV journalist.
  • Worth noting: Newsmax had to apologize earlier this month to a Dominion Voting Systems employee for airing false allegations that he manipulated the 2020 presidential election results.

The bottom line: DeSantis used much of his hour to beat up on the CDC, nameless "experts" who have "been wrong time and again," the "corporate media" who "don't believe in facts," and "criminal aliens" that "Biden is releasing back into our society."

  • All of that is undeniable red meat for the wider conservative base across America.
Not a valid email format.
Not a valid email format.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Not a valid email format.
Not a valid email format.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Not a valid email format.
Not a valid email format.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Not a valid email format.
Not a valid email format.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Not a valid email format.
Not a valid email format.
Server error. Please try a different email.

Go deeper

DeSantis says he will pardon people who violate COVID-19 restrictions

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) told Fox News that he plans to pardon "any Floridian" who faces "outstanding infractions" for violating COVID-19 guidance like mask mandates and social distancing.

Why it matters: DeSantis, who ended his state's COVID-19 health restrictions on May 3, said Wednesday that the virus-related mandates were a "total overreach."

May 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy" of Biden's win

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked Wednesday whether he was concerned about elevating Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to GOP leadership after she has promoted baseless claims about the election. He responded: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election."

Why it matters: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was ousted as House GOP conference chair earlier Wednesday — in a vote that McCarthy supported — over her continued criticisms of former President Trump and his lies about election fraud.

House Republicans vote to remove Liz Cheney from leadership

House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as conference chair in a voice vote Wednesday, capping months of growing backlash over her criticisms of former President Trump, according to two sources in the room.

Why it matters: The stunning removal of the No. 3 House Republican over her condemnation of Trump's election lies reflects the influence the former president still retains over the GOP.