Former President Donald Trump unleashed a fiery screed Thursday evening critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who triumphed in his reelection campaign this week and is increasingly seen as a strong candidate to challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
In a statement sent by Trump’s Save America PAC to his supporters, the former president belittled DeSantis as an “average” Republican governor with “great Public Relations.” Trump took credit for DeSantis’s 2018 victory that earned him his first term as governor, and revived the nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious” in what appears the most extreme escalation between the two Florida Republicans to date, even as DeSantis has not formally declared any intention to run for president.
“Now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games! 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 said.
Trump lashed out as he is expected to make a major announcement from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, widely expected to be his declaration to run for president in 2024, even as some urged him to stand down ahead of a Georgia Senate runoff following a weaker-than-expected performance by Republicans in the midterm elections. Trump also said he voted for DeSantis on Tuesday.
Trump concluded his new statement by comparing the governor to his predecessor, “Low Energy Jeb Bush,” a reference to the 2016 election. “We’re in exactly the same position now. They will keep coming after us, MAGA, but ultimately, we will win. Put America First and, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he concluded.