Former President Donald Trump took a swipe at Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis at a Pennsylvania rally on Saturday night, giving his a nickname, referring to DeSantis as “Ron DeSanctimonious”.
“We’re winning big in the Republican Party for the nomination like nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump told a crowd in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night before going down the list of other Republicans who could potentially challenge him in 2024.
“There it is, Trump at 71%, Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%,” Trump told the crowd while reading polling numbers of multiple Republicans.
“Mike Pence at 7, oh, Mike is doing better than I thought,” Trump said. “Liz Cheney there’s no way she’s at 4%. There’s no way. There’s no way. But we’re at 71 to 10 to 7 to 4.”
The swipe at DeSantis from Trump could be a sign of growing tensions between the two.
Back in February, DeSantis dismissed claims of tension between the two, calling it “Total Bunk.”
“Donald Trump’s a friend of mine,” said DeSantis to FOX News Digital in February.
“He is proud when people do well and it’s not just me, but obviously he’s a Florida resident and he appreciates the job that we’ve done. He’s told me that many times, not only with helping with the election, but just how we govern the state. And I think he looks around the country,” said DeSantis.
In January, The Daily Mail reported that DeSantis is refusing to “bend a knee to Donald Trump” and says backing him in the 2024 election ‘is too much to ask’.
Allegedly, Trump criticized DeSantis, saying he had ‘no personal charisma’ and ‘dull personality’ as reported by the New York Times.
‘In the context of the 2024 election, he usually gives DeSantis a pop in the nose in the middle of that type of conversation,’ a source who spoke to Trump about DeSantis told Axios.
The source, who shared the private remarks on the condition of anonymity, has heard Trump criticize DeSantis on multiple occasions, according to the Axios report.
“He wants to see Republicans doing well. And I think when the media is trying to act like he’s upset at me for doing well, I think that’s total bunk. I think they’re just making it up,” said DeSantis on Fox News.
“And I think he’s somebody that wants to see, you know, not just Republicans do well, but people that are actually going to stand and fight do well across the board. Obviously, Florida is an important state, the third-largest state in the country, and really us and Texas are the two biggest states that have sizable Republican footprints, and so we’re proud of that and we’re going to keep it going,” said DeSantis.
In an October poll, 72% of respondents chose DeSantis as the politician who should have “a great deal or a good amount of influence on” the party’s political agenda, compared to 64% for Trump, according to Ipsos Research, which conducted the survey for ABC News.
In July and September, polls showed DeSantis defeating Trump in the New Hampshire Republican Primary and the Florida Republican Primary respectively.
In the news: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Challenger Charlie Crist Debate LIVE At 7 PM Tonight
However, Trump leads DeSantis among Republicans nationwide in most polls, gaining an average of 50.8% support from them, according to RaceToWH.com, a 2024 primary polling aggregator; moreover, another Ipsos poll in August showed that four-out-of-five Republicans believe that Trump can win the next presidential election.
Neither Trump nor DeSantis have definitely said that they will seek the Republican nomination in 2024, though Trump has strongly hinted that he will do so in repeated public remarks, claiming on Sunday that he “will probably have to do it, again.”
DeSantis, for his part, has claimed that he is focused on the ongoing Florida gubernatorial election, where he is running for re-election against former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate.
DeSantis’ popularity has skyrocketed among Republicans nationwide after the COVID-19 pandemic, where conservatives praised him for refusing to impose lockdowns after the spring of 2020, ordering the reopening of schools, and rebuffing both mask and vaccination mandates. “We will never do any of these lockdowns, again,” he said.
The poll surveyed 618 registered voters and had a margin of error of 4.0%.
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