- DeSantis responded to Trump in the New York Post after he made obscene insinuations on Truth Social.
- He compared his winning record to that of the ex-president and accused him of supporting Fauci.
- The rivalry between the two is heating up ahead of a potential 2024 GOP primary.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis meant every word.
If there was any doubt that the Republican governor slipped or might backtrack on Monday’s attacks on Donald Trump’s character — just as the former president was considering a looming indictment — the governor dispelled them all in a subsequent interview with Piers Morgan of the New York Post.
DeSantis redoubled his attacks on Trump in an interview released Tuesday, raising questions about Trump’s alleged affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and calling his administration “daily drama.”
He also reminded readers that Trump was the underdog, referring indirectly to the 2020 election and the 2022 midterm elections, when Democrats won more seats than expected. When Morgan asked him what he thought of “DeSantimonius,” the nickname Trump gave him, the governor brushed off and insisted he could beat President Joe Biden.
“I don’t really know what it means, but I love it, it’s long, it has a lot of vowels,” DeSantis told the New York Post of the nickname Trump gave him shortly before Election Day. “We will agree with this, this is normal. I mean, you can call me whatever you want, as long as you also call me the winner, because that’s what we were able to do in Florida, put a lot of points. on the board and take that state to the next level.”
DeSantis’ comments to the Post mark an escalation against Trump, who could be challenged by the Florida governor for the GOP nomination for the presidency. Being interviewed by the New York Post was a particularly sardonic move, given that the publication snubbed Trump after he announced he was running for president in 2024 and called DeSantis “DeFuture.”
— Raheem J. Kassam (@RaheemKassam) March 21, 2023
DeSantis has been in politics since the age of 30 and hasn’t lost a race since he first ran for the US House of Representatives in 2012. In 2018, he narrowly missed becoming Governor of Florida thanks in large part to Trump’s backing against a much more prominent challenger. By 2022, DeSantis was running for re-election without Trump’s help and scored a career-high 19 points.
His latest attacks drew immediate attention from Trump allies, who denounced the governor for insulting Trump as the Manhattan district attorney prepared to press charges.
— Donald Trump Jr (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 21, 2023
DeSantis kept quiet about Trump all weekend, only to criticize him on Monday for an alleged fling.
Although DeSantis called the investigation politically motivated and said he would not help with the extradition, he also dismissed the investigation as less important than his Florida agenda, drawing the wrath of MAGA-world and Trump himself.
Speaking Monday via a Truth Social post, Trump hinted that DeSantis might someday face his “false” accusations from another woman, an “underage” classmate, or “perhaps a male.”
DeSantis has not faced such accusations, but Trump hit back at the governor for trying to portray himself as a devoted father and husband.
The contrast was not accidental, DeSantis suggested in an interview with the New York Post, once again pointing to the accusations against Trump, saying, “There is a lot of speculation about what underlies the behavior.”
“Do you really want to look at people like our founding fathers, like what type of character, it’s not like you never make mistakes in your personal life, but I think what type of character do you bring?” DeSantis asked. “So, someone who really set the standard is George Washington, because he always put the Republic ahead of his personal interests.”
Further highlighting the differences, DeSantis, 44, said one of the reasons he might not run for president in 2024 is that he has three young children with his wife Casey DeSantis.
“I have different obligations and it’s not the easiest thing in the world and I also want to make sure I have a very clear rationale for what I’m doing,” he said.
So far, DeSantis has generally avoided hitting Trump directly. Instead, his messages tend to be more subliminal. For example, last year he held a press conference about Covid vaccine skepticism in West Palm Beach, near Trump’s permanent home. Trump was president when the federal government accelerated vaccine development and conservative voters were more likely to reject boosters.
DeSantis made it clear during an interview with the New York Post, which will air in full on Fox Nation’s “Piers Morgan Uncensored” on Thursday, that he will be running to Trump’s right due to Covid. He again attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, a former top infectious disease official in the federal government who became the face of the US backlash, which included a lockdown that DeSantis rejected for Florida.
Trump often butted heads with Fauci, although he kept him in his role.
“The approach to Covid was different,” DeSantis told the New York Post. “I would fire someone like Fauci. I think he got too big for his pants and I think he did a lot of damage.”