Dangling a 2018 gubernatorial campaign ad in which DeSantis billed himself as a Trump sycophant, Trump facetiously thanked the Sunshine State governor, marking the latest in the former president’s onslaught against DeSantis ahead of his speculated 2024 debut.
“Thanks Ron,” Trump quipped in a post on Truth Social, with a screenshot of the 2018 campaign ad.
In a tongue-in-cheek ad, seemingly no longer available on his YouTube page, DeSantis was shown building a toy wall and reading a book about Trump to his children, brandishing himself as a “pit bull Trump defender.” Trump endorsed DeSantis in a heated primary, and he later eked out a narrow win in the 2018 general election.
Since then, DeSantis’s political profile has blown up, and he sailed to reelection victory last Tuesday against the backdrop of his party having a less-than-stellar showing compared to what was expected.
He has polled as Trump’s most competitive rival in 2024, and Trump has hinted at a “very big announcement” in Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, likely to announce a 2024 bid from DeSantis’s home state. The lackluster midterm outing has fed GOP fodder for DeSantis to run as a chorus of conservatives have blamed Trump’s baggage for hampering their midterm prospects.
“Hopefully TODAY will turn out to be one of the most important days in the history of our Country,” Trump teased in another Truth Social post.
Behind the scenes, Trump has been reportedly been “very, very stressed out” about DeSantis possibly running for president in 2024. He has already beta-tested a nickname, “DeSanctimonious,” taking a page from the strategy he used to bulldoze through his Republican foes in 2016. He has also fired off several other attacks on DeSantis.
DeSantis, who has branded himself as a MAGA-style politician, has largely been slow to return fire, shrugging off Trump’s remarks during a news conference on Tuesday.
“One of the things I have learned in this job, when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire. That’s just the nature of it,” DeSantis said. “At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
Should he make it official Tuesday, Trump will be the first major candidate to declare his candidacy publicly for 2024. DeSantis has largely been mum in public about any presidential aspirations.