When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis checked into a hotel in Iowa on Friday, he was immediately ambushed by a woman As she followed him on camera, he asked questions about when he would “drop out” of the race and whether he had “spent enough of people’s money already.”
Later, the meeting found its way to social media. The woman – far-right social media influencer Laura Loomer – cut a scene in which DeSantis said he “looked petrified”, adding that his “spirit left his body when he saw me”.
“He’s going to lose,” Loomer, a two-time unsuccessful candidate for Congress and a self-described “proud Islamophobe,” said in a clip filmed outside a hotel. “President Trump will kick off on Monday, January 15th. So much for Ron. You killed your political career and I hope you are happy. You just got Loomered, b—-.”
Perhaps more remarkable than the encounter was which of Loomer’s biggest fans was quick to promote him on social media; Former President Donald Trump posted the video on his Truth Social account on Saturday.
It was the latest in a series of promotions and accolades that Trump offered Loomer during the campaign, and some of his allies and advisers worry that he casts a figure they see as a fringe, far-right activist — one that could come back to bite him during the general election campaign. .
“Everybody who works for him thinks he’s responsible,” said one Trump ally.
Loomer, who earlier this month promoted conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and several mass shootings, He boarded the ship with Trump his plane visited Iowa and he has he suggested she wants to serve as Trump’s press secretary for a second term.
“You want him on your side,” Trump yelled at Loomer at a campaign event Sunday.
this summer appeared In a video with Loomer at the Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club which he describes as in “really very special”. And, “The New York Times” newspaper wrote in April, Trump urged campaign aides to hire Loomer for an official role in the campaign, only to halt the hiring after the story was published for a senior campaign official.
Trump last month promoted the video Speaking to an interviewer on Loomer’s Truth Social account, she once told her ex-romantic partner, who she thought was paying too much attention to Trump, that they needed to understand that Trump was her first priority.
“If you think you’re more important than President Trump, then you have some kind of delusional personality disorder,” he said in the video. “I have to say that it was the end of the relationship. President Trump is my number one priority right now.”
“Thank you, Laura!” Trump wrote.
There is Trump some he hugged for a long time of the more fringed figures who praised him on the right. He asked people around him what they thought of Loomer and found him unafraid to speak uncomfortable truths, a source familiar with the discussions said.
“And she likes what he’s doing with DeSantis,” the person added.
His targeting of DeSantis goes far beyond the ambush video from Friday. He previously accused the governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis.FAKE CRY ABOUT CANCER.” Late last year, watched and filmed DeSantis’ top aide Christina Pushaw around the Florida GOP’s November summit.
One DeSantis ally said Trump stepping forward and embracing Loomer “shows that adults in Trump World are not as in control as they seem.”
“At the end of the day, they can’t stop Trump from doing some of these crazy things,” this person said.
Over the past few days, Loomer has posted about his removal from here DeSantis and Nikki Haley events Iowa. Although he and Vivek Ramaswamy, a businessman closely associated with Trump understood betterhe started blast the starting candidate After Trump and his advisers started calling him “low.”fraud” on Saturday. As brutal weather looms in the Hawkeye State ahead of Monday’s caucuses, Loomer he even claimed Hayley’s friends were literally manipulating the air.
After DeSantis’ ambush on Friday, conservative attorney Will Chamberlain, who previously worked on DeSantis’ campaign, he tweeted “After being kicked out of a private event, there are names of people who followed the speaker back to their hotel and chased them in the lobby. They call it a stalker.”
Within an hour, Loomer wrote: “Haters calling me a stalker.”
“But they also wish they had someone who loved them as much as I love Donald Trump,” he said he said.
“All my enemies secretly wish I was their street fighter. Never back down, baby!”
Some fear that Loomer’s closeness to Trump could fuel Democratic attacks on him heading into the general election, prompting him to limit his exposure — which could anger Trump.
“He’s going to be upset,” said a person familiar with Trump’s discussions about Loomer.
Multiple Trump allies told NBC News that despite the repeated attacks, there is frustration over his closeness to him, as Loomer has also taken his own online support to the back of Trump’s political operation: Brian Jack, political director of the 2024 campaign. This spring, he many times attacked Jack online, calls him a “mole” in the campaign after claiming he tried to derail his last congressional bid.
“Brian Jack is probably one of the biggest parasites in Trump World,” Loomer said in June. “He should be fired”
Trump’s since his last presidential bid The current campaign brass is finely balanced Maintaining a strong and loyal inner circle by not alienating or cutting off supportive outside voices like Loomer.
Democrats have already linked the two. The Democratic National Committee issued a press release after Trump was spotted at a golf club with her in August he said Trump “hit another low over the weekend when he met with extremist and self-proclaimed white nationalist Laura Loomer once again — at least for the second time this year.”
“This is the state of the 2024 GOP primary: Donald Trump, who Republicans are not quick to condemn, continues to surround himself with the most extreme right-wing, extreme members of the party,” he continued in the statement.
Loomer rose to prominence during the Trump administration after his anti-Muslim posts on the internet took him down is prohibited from the series social mediaride sharing and payment programs. In 2018, he handcuffed himself to Twitter’s headquarters in New York for two hours. protesting his ban from the platform.
He ran for the House of Representatives in Florida in 2020 with Trump’s support. to lose Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel by about 20 percentage points. In 2022he Elsewhere in Florida, the GOP lost a House primary to Daniel Webster. Loomer after losing this race addressed His supporters tearfully claimed voter fraud and refused to accept the election, saying, “We don’t live in a free country.”
Loomer did not respond to requests for comment. Multiple Trump campaign officials, as well as the DeSantis campaign, did not respond to requests for comment. A Haley campaign official declined to comment.
One of Trump’s most prominent right-wing allies publicly suggested he strongly condemned Loomer after The New York Times reported on the campaign’s potential to hire him. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., he wrote at the time, Loomer was “mentally unstable and a documented liar” and “cannot be trusted.”
“Never hire or do business with a liar,” said Greene, whose office did not respond to a request for comment. “Liars are venomous and toxic to everything they touch. I will be sure [Trump] knows.”
Loomer himself has named some of Trump’s closest political allies, including Green and R-Fla. writes in October: “Matt Gaetz is all about Matt Gaetz. Loyal, unreliable and more than happy to sell MAGA for personal gain.”
“I don’t know who he really gets along with — he’s very fringe,” said a second Trump ally, adding, “You could label him MAGA’s total fringe.”
“It’s too bad that Trump is around him,” the person continued. “It’s not a good look.”