Trump slams Florida’s DeSantis
Ex-US President Donald Trump has launched a rhetorical broadside against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, insisting he is responsible for the governor’s growing popularity among Republicans, amid predictions that both could seek the GOP nomination in the 2024 presidential race.
Trump took to his Truth Social account on Thursday evening with a lengthy statement savaging DeSantis, who he derisively nicknamed “Ron DeSanctimonious, an average REPUBLICAN governor with great public relations.”
Though parts of his statement are not entirely coherent, the former commander in chief went on to take credit for DeSantis’ electoral successes since 2017, saying “Ron came to me in desperate shape” that year as a “politically dead candidate” with “low approval, bad polls, and no money.”
“[DeSantis] said that if I would endorse him, he could win,” Trump said. “I didn’t know [his GOP primary opponent, Adam Putnam,] so I said, ‘Let’s give it a shot.’”
Trump argued that his endorsement for the Florida politician “was as though… a nuclear weapon went off,” adding that he “fixed his campaign, which had completely fallen apart,” and helped DeSantis win over the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, in 2019.
While it’s unclear what prompted the nearly 500-word diatribe against DeSantis, Trump suggested the move could be linked to the 2024 presidential race, though neither has officially announced a run for the Oval Office.
“The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future.’ Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer,” Trump’s statement continued.
Earlier this week, the ex-president hinted that he would make a “very big announcement” on November 15, stoking widespread speculation that he will declare another bid for the presidency.
Though the two were previously close allies, DeSantis’ star has quickly risen among conservative voters, who have praised the governor’s less authoritarian approach to the Covid-19 pandemic and his staunch opposition to lockdowns, mask orders, and vaccine mandates. According to several opinion polls, Trump and DeSantis would likely be the top candidates for the Republican presidential nomination if both decide to run.