Mr. DeSantis’s actual response to the crisis is not what delights conservatives; rather, it’s how he bristles at skeptical coverage, just as Mr. Trump did when he was excoriating the “fake news.” The most recent example came this week when “60 Minutes” aired a segment that suggested Mr. DeSantis had improperly made Publix grocery stores, which are ubiquitous in Florida, distributors of the coronavirus vaccine after the company contributed $100,000 to him.

Mr. DeSantis did not cooperate with CBS for the piece. But with the sympathy of other Republicans, he cried foul about the segment after it ran and was rewarded with a coveted prime-time interview on Fox News to expound on his grievance.

“This is the beating heart of the Republican Party right now — the media has replaced Democrats as the opposition,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist in Kentucky. “The platform is whatever the media is against today, I’m for, and whatever they’re for, I’m against.”

That has made for an odd alchemy in the capital, where a number of business-oriented Republicans increasingly find themselves politically homeless. Notable among them is the Chamber of Commerce, which angered G.O.P. lawmakers by cozying up to Democrats but is now aghast at Mr. Biden’s proposed corporate tax hike.

“It’s a weird time,” said Tony Fratto, a former Bush administration official who supported Mr. Biden but represents business clients who are uneasy with a tax increase. “I don’t know where to go, but a lot of people don’t feel comfortable with where the parties are right now.”

Except, perhaps, for one recently retired Florida man.

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