Trump attacks 'Ron DeSantimonious' amid positive press after midterms

Donald Trump just fired the first salvo of the 2024 Republican primary against the man expected to be his top rival, Florida governor Ron DeSantis. In a blistering statement, he went after DeSantis on a number of fronts — returning to the moniker “Ron DeSanctimonious” and portraying him as desperately headed for defeat in 2018 before Trump backed him. 

Trump slammed DeSantis for being an “average” governor and “playing games” amid a wave of positive press for the popular Florida governor following the midterm elections.

“NewsCorp, which is Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and the no longer great New York Post (bring back Col!), is all in for Governor Ron DeSanctimonious, an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations,” wrote Trump, repeating a nickname he first used for the governor last week. Col Allan, the former editor in chief of the New York Post, retired in 2016.

Trump attributed DeSantis’s political success as governor to the weather in his state, saying that he “has the advantage of SUNSHINE, where people from badly run States up North would go no matter who the Governor was, just like I did!”

The former president claimed that his endorsement of DeSantis won him the Florida gubernatorial election in 2018.

Trump said that DeSantis approached him in “desperate shape” while he was “politically dead” in 2017 to ask for an endorsement.

He added that “Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games” by not answering questions about whether he will run for president in 2024. DeSantis is seen as Trump’s leading challenger for the GOP nomination in that year’s election should both decide to run

“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,’” wrote Trump.

“Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”

Trump earlier this week warned DeSantis against seeking the White House in 2024 during an interview with Fox News. “I don’t know if he is running,” he told the network. “I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly.”

The former president’s Thursday statement comes after DeSantis cruised to reelection Tuesday on a night otherwise largely marked by disappointment for the GOP, fueling further talk of a presidential bid and praise from other Republicans and the conservative media. Meanwhile, a number of Republicans have criticized Trump following the midterms and even blamed him for key losses.

On Thursday, Trump warned that he and his supporters will again triumph over his critics just as he said they did in 2015 and 2016 despite a “Media Assault (Collusion!)”

“Fox News fought me to the end until I won, and then they couldn’t have been nicer or more supportive. The Wall Street Journal loved Low Energy Jeb Bush, and a succession of other people as they rapidly disappeared from sight, finally falling in line with me after I easily knocked them out, one by one,” said Trump.

“We’re in exactly the same position now,” he continued. “They will keep coming after us, MAGA, but ultimately, we will win. Put America First and, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

A couple of points here. First, Trump is scheduled to announce his plans for 2024 next Tuesday but in this statement he all but says he’s running. I don’t think that’s a huge surprise to anyone but it suggests he’s pretty irritated or he wouldn’t be undercutting his own announcement. And, again, this is just hours after Trump denied that he was upset about the midterms, but here he is attacking DeSantis and NewsCorp for proclaiming DeSantis a big winner Tuesday night.

I already walked though the electoral blowout that happened in Florida earlier today. It was the the only place in the country where the red wave happened as expected. DeSantis won by 19 points and the GOP gained supermajorities in the Florida House and Senate. Why wouldn’t Trump be happy about that?

There’s no need to guess at an answer. Just read his statement. He’s annoyed that the media is praising DeSantis and he’s annoyed that DeSantis hasn’t promised to instantly bow out of the 2024 race if he decides to run. So two days after the election he’s attacking the clearest winner the GOP had and threatening to knock him out of the race for 2024.

Polls show that Trump still has a significant lead among GOP primary voters in Florida but they also show his lead over DeSantis was shrinking even before Tuesday.

Trump’s 2024 presidential bid has fallen by nine percentage points since August, a new Morning Consult poll finds. DeSantis’ popularity has grown, as many Republicans blame Trump and question his presidential run after a “red wave” failed to materialize in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

The poll, conducted before Tuesday’s midterms from November 2-7, found 48% of potential Republican primary voters would support Trump if the primaries were held today, versus 26% who’d back DeSantis and 26% who want to vote for someone else.

So we’ll see what happens. A lot can change even over the next few weeks. I’m not expecting an immediate response from DeSantis but if I see one I’ll add it below.

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