Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded Tuesday to an ongoing series of criticisms leveled at him by former President Trump.
Trump took his latest swing at DeSantis on Saturday, claiming that the governor — who he has previously nicknamed “Ron DeSanctimonious” — was misguided in COVID-19 pandemic policies in Florida.
“There are Republican governors that did not close their states. Florida was closed for a long period of time.” Trump said to reporters. “They’re trying to rewrite history.”
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Former President Trump.
(SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Trump went further during his Saturday events in New Hampshire and South Carolina, claiming that DeSantis owes his success to the Trump administration and that a hypothetical presidential bid would be insulting.
Trump said, “Ron would have not been governor if it wasn’t for me. So when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal.”
Speaking at a press conference, DeSantis was asked about Trump’s comments.
“Trump has criticized you a number of times in the past couple of days on a number of different issues, one of them being COVID in the state,” said Daily Caller reporter Henry Rodgers.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, and former President Trump
DeSantis cited his recent landslide victory with Florida voters.
“Well, look, what I would just say is this. I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles,” the Florida governor said. “It’s been happening for many, many years. And if you look at the good thing about it, though, is if you take a crisis situation like COVID, you know — the good thing about it is when you’re an elected executive, you have to make all kinds of decisions. You got to steer that ship.”
DeSantis continued, “And the good thing is that the people are able to render a judgment on that, whether they reelect you or not. And I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida.”
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida.
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Until recently, Trump was the clear and overwhelming front-runner in the early 2024 GOP presidential nomination polls. However, in a handful of national surveys released last month, Trump trailed DeSantis, whose standing with conservatives across the country has soared over the past three years.
DeSantis was overwhelmingly re-elected in November for a second term leading Florida, a one-time battleground state that has turned increasingly red the past two cycles.
“We won by the largest raw vote margin over 1.5 million votes than any governor candidate has ever had in Florida history,” DeSantis touted Tuesday. “And in fact, we almost doubled the previous record, which I think was like 780,000 vote margin. And so what I would just say is that verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”