At the recent annual gathering of Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), much attention was given to the address of former President Donald Trump, who continues to lead in Republican primary polls by double digits.
"It's not the level of fervor that it was, but it was very well received," Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs at the American Family Association, noticed about Trump's speech. "He said some great things in that speech. I think the biggest concern for people that are struggling is can he win again, but there are also concerns about his judgement and concerns about his criticism and attempted destruction of other people like Ron DeSantis. That's not good; he shouldn't do that."
Rios thinks DeSantis should have spoken at CPAC, but instead, he opted for a Club for Growth event in Florida with major Republican donors.
"I personally think that was not a good decision on Ron's part, but he didn't ask me," she says.
Rios is concerned that a brutal primary fight between Trump and DeSantis could be brewing, as it would negatively affect conservatives' position in the ongoing culture war.
"They'd love nothing more than these two lions -- we've got President Trump; we have Ron DeSantis -- they'd love to have them destroy each other," she asserts. "Whatever happens, they both have a role to play."
On Tuesday, during his State of the State Address, Gov. Ron DeSantis called on Florida legislators to ban the gender manipulation of minors.
"It's sad that we have to say this, but our children are not guinea pigs for science experimentation," he declared. "We cannot allow people to make money off mutilating them."
DeSantis then took time to recognize Chloe Cole, a young lady who received puberty blockers at age 13 and underwent a double mastectomy at age 16.
"She's now an advocate against allowing these procedures for our children," DeSantis noted. "Chloe, thank you for your bravery. The people of Florida and the legislature should heed your advice and provide protections against these procedures."
John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council thought it was a major moment.
"Chloe's a courageous young lady, and for them to recognize her in the gallery was a powerful and historical thing," he submits.
Tina Descovich, a co-founder of Moms for Liberty and another resident of Florida, notes that Cole was sitting next to Florida's first lady, Casey DeSantis, at the speech, and she received a standing ovation.
"It was very moving, and it was a call to make sure we protect children from making these life-altering decisions at ages that they're just not capable of making decisions like that," Descovich says.
As for the potential Trump vs. DeSantis situation, Rios contends that neither of them should destroy the other and that voters simply "make good judgements as we see things unfold."
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.