DeSantis blasts Trump’s ‘character’ in wake of Stormy Daniels hush money scandal

US Election 2024 DeSantis Trump
This combination of the photos shows former President Donald Trump, left, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right. (AP Photo/File) Phil Sears, Alex Brandon/AP

DeSantis blasts Trump’s ‘character’ in wake of Stormy Daniels hush money scandal

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Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) took aim at former President Donald Trump’s character in a new interview with Piers Morgan.

The comments come as Trump endures a possible indictment from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The Florida governor has generally made a point to avoid commenting on Trump’s 2024 bid up until now.

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Morgan said he asked DeSantis about the personal conduct of leaders, and the governor contrasted Trump’s character with that of past presidents.

“At the end of the day as a leader,” DeSantis began, “you really want to look to people like our Founding Fathers, like what type of character — it’s not saying that you don’t ever make a mistake in your personal life — but I think what type of character are you bringing?”

“So, somebody who really set the standard is George Washington because he always put the republic over his own personal interest. When we won the American Revolution, Washington surrendered his sword. [King] George III said he’s the greatest man in the world if he gives up power,” DeSantis added.

He was also prompted as to whether his response to the news of a potential Trump indictment was meant to be “censorious.”

On Monday, DeSantis said if Bragg were to go after Trump while ignoring rampant crime in New York City, it would be “pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office.” However, he noted, “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I can’t speak to that.”

“Well, there’s a lot of speculation about what the underlying conduct is. That is purported to be it, and the reality is that’s just outside my wheelhouse. I mean, that’s just not something that I can speak to,” DeSantis explained to Morgan.

The Florida governor also reiterated several times that “it’s not about me.” He expressed that he wants the best for the country.

“My view though is we should want the country to do well,” he said. “I want other Republicans to do well. I want them to eclipse me. We’re setting a great standard in Florida — have everyone up their game.”

This seems to contrast with Trump’s philosophy, as the 2024 candidate has supported several efforts to purge Republicans who don’t support him.

According to DeSantis, his leadership style is also different than Trump’s. “No daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board,” he said of his approach.

DeSantis also criticized Trump’s COVID-19 strategy. “I would have fired somebody like Fauci. I think he got way too big for his britches, and I think he did a lot of damage,” he said.

Morgan further asked DeSantis about the former president’s jabs at him, notably calling him “Meatball Ron” and “Ron DeSanctimonious.”

“To me, it’s just background noise,” DeSantis said.

“It’s not important for me to be fighting with people on social media. It’s not accomplishing anything for the people I represent,” he added.

DeSantis told Morgan, “I don’t know how to spell the sanctimonious one. I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it. It’s long; it’s got a lot of vowels. We’ll go with that. That’s fine.”

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“I mean, you can call me whatever you want just as long as you also call me a winner because that’s what we’ve been able to do in Florida is put a lot of points on the board and really take this state to the next level,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis has yet to launch a bid for the White House in 2024 but is expected to announce his candidacy in the summer.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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