By virtue of being the only one currently in the race, former President Donald Trump has been afforded the luxury of steering the tone of the contest to his heart’s delight. He has no challengers yet, but there are a few who seem almost certain to be entering the race any minute now, and Trump has been certainly a little bit proactive in campaigning against them.
One such politician is Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, who has yet to make any official statement on the matter.
Trump took aim at the Sunshine State lawmaker over the weekend.
Former President Donald Trump took aim at Ron DeSantis Saturday, claiming the Florida governor and his team are “trying to rewrite history” regarding their Covid-19 pandemic response, and called the potential presidential run by his GOP rival “very disloyal.”
“There are Republican governors that did not close their states,” Trump told reporters while aboard his plane. “Florida was closed for a long period of time.”
“They’re trying to rewrite history,” he added. CNN has reached out to DeSantis for comment.
In March 2020, the Florida governor issued an executive order closing bars and nightclubs, urging people to follow US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to limit gatherings on beaches to no more than 10 people. By that September, DeSantis signed an order clearing restaurants and bars to fully open, which drew criticism from public health officials due to the Covid-19 spike that fall.
Trump appeared annoyed at DeSantis’ potential run.
On Saturday, during his first major campaign swing to New Hampshire and South Carolina, Trump took credit again for helping elevate DeSantis during his 2018 bid for governor, saying “Ron would have not been governor if it wasn’t for me.”
“So when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal,” Trump said.
While taking aim at DeSantis, Trump told reporters aboard his plane that Nikki Haley – who served as his ambassador to the United Nations – called him in recent days to inform him that she is considering launching a 2024 presidential bid.
“I talked to her for a little while, I said, ‘Look, you know, go by your heart if you want to run,’” Trump said. “She’s publicly said that ‘I would never run against my president, he was a great president.’”
Trump’s pending legal trouble may be the reason why DeSantis and others have yet to officially enter the race, with their hope being that Trump is neutralized before they need to begin spending money to defeat him.