Former President Donald Trump issued a blistering tirade against newly reelected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday, calling the potential presidential nominee an “average” governor with “great public relations.”
“Ron came to me in desperate shape in 2017 — he was politically dead, losing in a landslide,” Trump said in a statement. “Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said that if I would Endorse him, he could win. … When I Endorsed him, it was as though, to use a bad term, a nuclear weapon went off.”
The former president unveiled a new nickname for DeSantis at a rally earlier this month, calling the governor Ron “DeSanctimonious.”
DeSantis sailed to victory during this week’s midterm elections, one of the few Republicans to post resounding results on Tuesday. While continuing his rapid rise as a national Republican star, he has turned to Trumpian tactics, mocking Democrats’ efforts to make inroads in Florida.
”We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob,” DeSantis said during his victory speech this week. “Florida is where woke goes to die.”
The governor is seen as a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and finished his campaign this week with $60 million in the bank.
Trump’s luster has further diminished among some Republicans. Calls are growing within the GOP and on conservative media for the party to split with the former president and move on, particularly after several high-profile, Trump-backed candidates lost on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the former president challenged DeSantis, who hasn’t formally announced his intention to run in 2024, saying the governor was “playing games” instead of being loyal.
“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,’” Trump said in the statement. “Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”