Trump rips into DeSantis’s dwindling poll numbers as 2024 feud escalates

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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci/AP

Trump rips into DeSantis’s dwindling poll numbers as 2024 feud escalates

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Donald Trump ramped up attacks against Gov. Ron DeSantis during a rally appearance on Saturday, ripping into the Florida Republican for his dwindling poll numbers and recent criticism leveled against the former president.

Trump reiterated previous comments taking credit for DeSantis’s successes in the Sunshine state, telling a crowd of hundreds of supporters that the Florida governor’s political career would be “dead” without Trump’s popularity. Trump recalled stories of DeSantis asking the former president for his endorsement in 2018, which he claimed allowed the Florida governor to become “like a rocketship.”

WATCH LIVE: TRUMP HOLDS FIRST 2024 CAMPAIGN RALLY IN TEXAS AS INDICTMENT FEARS LOOM

“We laugh at him now, but he was one of the hottest people in politics,” Trump said. “But I think we’re doing well, I mean we’re up … in the polls in the last four or five in the last month.”

Trump pointed to recent polling shared by his campaign team that showed him leading DeSantis among Texas Republicans, overcoming an initial lead by DeSantis in January to beating the Florida governor by 16 points as of March.

Trump also attacked DeSantis on some key policy issues, accusing the Florida Republican of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits — something that has become a flashpoint issue ahead of the 2024 election cycle. DeSantis has previously responded to similar attacks, noting he and other Republicans will not “mess with” the welfare programs.

Trump made the comments during his first official campaign rally in Waco, Texas, on Saturday as he addressed supporters for the first time since reports emerged about looming indictment charges related to a hush money case that began during his first presidential run in 2016.

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Trump supporters gathered at the Waco Regional Airport on Saturday evening as part of the former president’s efforts to establish Texas as “Trump country” early on in the primary season before the GOP field gets too crowded.

The campaign event comes as Trump faces a possible indictment as soon as next week. If pressed with charges, it would mark the first time a former president has been indicted in U.S. history. It’s not yet clear what charges Trump may face.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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