US Midterms: Trump slams rising Republican rival DeSantis
11 November, 2022 | Riya Girdhar
Former US President Donald Trump has lashed out at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, escalating a simmering feud between the two top Republicans.
Trump dismissed his former political aide as a “average” governor who lacked “loyalty.”
DeSantis, 44, was re-elected in a landslide in the midterm elections on Tuesday, cementing his position as the Republican Party’s brightest rising star.
He is widely expected to run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2024.
But Trump, 76, appears to be standing in his way.
Mr DeSantis, or any other Republican who dares to challenge him, would face a formidable opponent in the former president, who has a massive campaign war chest and remains hugely popular with the party’s base.
Trump dismissed Florida Governor Rick Scott as a political lightweight who came to him “in desperate shape” when running for his first term in office in 2017.
“Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said he could win if I Endorsed [sic] him,” Trump said. “I also repaired his campaign, which had completely collapsed.”
He then complained that DeSantis, whom he has dubbed “Ron DeSanctimonious,” was “playing games” by refusing to rule out a presidential run.
“Well, that’s really not the right answer in terms of loyalty and class,” Trump added.
The former president is widely expected to announce his own White House bid as early as next week.
While DeSantis basks in the glow of his re-election victory, Trump has been chastised for the Republicans’ poor showing in the midterm elections.
The battle for control of the House and Senate came down to the wire. Two days after the election, it is still unclear which party will control the two chambers of Congress.
In 2020, voters overwhelmingly rejected candidates who supported Trump’s bogus claims of election fraud, and many of his high-profile picks for office struggled or lost outright.
Even close allies of the ex-president have urged him to reconsider what he has hinted will be a major announcement on November 15.
“Republicans have followed Donald Trump off a cliff,” said David Urban, a former Trump adviser.
“I think he needs to put it [his campaign announcement] on hold,” Trump’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
DeSantis’ 20-point victory over Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, on the other hand, has received universal praise from conservative commentators.
His victory margin in Miami-Dade County, which has traditionally been a Democratic stronghold, was the largest by a Republican in four decades.
According to an October Ipsos poll, 72% of registered Republicans believe DeSantis should have a lot or a lot of influence over the party’s future. Trump, 76, received the same response from 64% of those polled.
On Thursday, the governor did not immediately respond to Trump’s jabs.