“You have created a monster, and it will destroy you.”
Those were the prophetic words of warning from Dr. Waldman to Dr. Frankenstein, in the movie version of Mary Shelley’s book, as he tries to stop him from proceeding with his plan to create a creature in his own image.
But by the time Frankenstein realized Waldman was right, it was too late — and the monster did indeed destroy him.
Donald Trump is the modern-day Dr. Frankenstein and Ron DeSantis is his monster whom he has repeatedly claimed credit for creating when he first endorsed him to be governor of Florida.
Although the former president doesn’t realize it yet, or more likely doesn’t want to realize it, the monster he made is now out of his control, rampaging across the Washington and media skyline like Boris Karloff on speed — albeit a far more ruggedly handsome version.
DeSantis is a cunning, ruthless, whip-smart operator with astute political instincts who shares much of his mentor’s worldview but comes without any of the crazier baggage.
At 44, he’s 31 years younger than Trump, and 35 years younger than President Biden, and he represents both men’s worst nightmare as an opponent.
Late-night hosts had a collective spleen explosion, with Trevor Noah inferring DeSantis is an ignorant racist, Stephen Colbert branding him a “gaping a–hole,” and Seth Myers calling him “cruel and sadistic … stupid and repulsive … ghoulish and cruel.”
They all said the same stuff about Trump.
But now they’ve moved on from Dr. Frankenstein to his monster, and the liberal media is so worried about DeSantis that they’ve even commenced a comical revisionism of Trump, the man they’ve spent the past six years frenziedly demonizing.
New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote this week that Trump “is funny, he has stage presence, and he has a kind of natural charisma. He can be a bully in part because he can temper his cruelty and egoism with the performance of a clown or a showman. He can persuade an audience that he’s just kidding — that he doesn’t actually mean it. Ron DeSantis cannot. He may be a more competent Trump in terms of his ability to use the levers of state to amass power, but he’s also meaner and more rigid, without the soft edges and eccentricity of the actual Donald Trump.”
Is this the same newspaper that’s portrayed Trump as the devil incarnate and the most chilling threat to democracy since Adolf Hitler?
As Fox News star Greg Gutfeld observed in his monologue on Tuesday: “The media never really believes their political adversaries are evil. It’s just how they destroy reputations before moving on.
“Of course, when you’re no longer a threat, the Dems compliment you.”
That last line should seriously worry Trump, because it’s true.
A large part of Trump’s shtick and popularity has been his ability to position himself as the undisputed No. 1 target for the “liberal elite” and exploit it.
Now he’s not.
And it will be driving Trump bonkers with frustration that the person stealing all his oxygen and enemy outrage is the guy he first spotted and publicly backed.
Even worse, Trump believes DeSantis is stealing his ideas.
Trump is reportedly fuming over the Martha’s Vineyard migrant stunt — not, like the others fuming over it, because he objects to it on moral grounds, but because he believes he thought of it first and is incensed at all the attention it’s bringing his monster.
Policy ideas are not the only things Trump believes DeSantis is copying from him.
He is apparently also infuriated that the governor mimics his gestures, even down to the way he stands, and often posts suspiciously similar thoughts on Twitter once Trump has said them elsewhere.
Until now, Trump has been keen to tell the world that DeSantis is only where he is because of him: “I was very responsible for getting him elected. If I didn’t endorse him, he wouldn’t have won.”
When asked what would happen if they both ran for president, Trump told Yahoo Finance: “If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else.”
I’m not so sure about that.
DeSantis is a younger, better-focused, more competent version of Trump, and he’s now getting all the media heat that Trump normally commands because he’s seen as a bigger threat by the Democrats.
Republicans are waking up to this reality and beginning to rally around DeSantis at the same speed they’re moving away from his creator.
If Trump’s endorsements triumph in the midterms, he could yet fend off his monster because it would show he’s still a vote-winner.
But if they don’t, I predict the GOP will dump him like a sack of old potatoes and swing behind his younger, fresher self.
In that eventuality, Trump would be smart to embrace his creation as the party’s new hard-nosed, lib-bashing darling and continue taking the credit for him.
True leadership, after all, is about legacy.
If he doesn’t, and tries to fight it out, which is far more likely given Trump’s stupendous ego, DeSantis will kill his Dr. Frankenstein’s political career with the same merciless savagery with which the monster killed the original doctor.