Typically Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been quick to capitalize on the ridiculous policies and comments of his liberal opponents.
But his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, former President Donald Trump, seeks to turn the tables on the governor.
Trump’s campaign released a new T-shirt that played on DeSantis’ comments last week that Trump supporters are “listless vessels that are just supposed to follow whatever happens to come down the pike on Truth Social every morning.”
DeSantis’ campaign has been backpedaling from the comments, seeking to explain that DeSantis referred to Beltway insiders and DC RINOs, and not Trump’s MAGA base.
In the news: Report: Another Florida County Goes Red In The DeSantis Era
Trump, however, is not letting that slide.
The master marketer released a new campaign T-shirt. It is white with a U.S. flag in the middle, and above the flag the words “Deplorable” and “Listless vessels” are crossed out, while beneath is the word “Patriot.”
The shirt retails for $36.
The word “deplorable” refers to Hillary Clintion’s smearing of Trump followers in 2016. The Democratic nominee said that Trump supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables.”
The quick reaction from Trump’s team mirrors the past efforts DeSantis was known for.
For example, during his gubernatorial campaign, DeSantis’ campaign shop offered merch such as:
- A baby onesie with the slogan “Brandon makes me cry,” which referred to the media spin of NASCAR driver Brandon Brown. After Brown won his first race in 2021, a sports reporter asked him about the crowd chanting “Let’s go Brandon” in the background, when in fact fans were yelling “F— Joe Biden.”
- Coffee mugs that said “I (heart) [either New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or California]. But I wish my governor was Ron DeSantis.”
- A pair of flip-flops that said “Fauci Can Pound Sand,” a reference to Dr. Anthony Fauci and the numerous times he reversed course on COVID-19 policies.
- And a yellow apron that featured an image of a gas stove and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Florida,” introduced after the Biden administration would ban gas stoves to fight climate change.
DeSantis responded to the backlash in an interview on Fox News on Monday, saying that he thinks one of the “big problems” with the Republican Party is candidates not “following through” on their promises.
“And so at the end of the day, it’s what are we delivering for the people that have put us into office, and in the state of Florida, I can say that I have delivered more for America first principles than anybody else in the country,” he said, noting measures his administration has taken on immigration, Second Amendment rights and school choice.
DeSantis said his remark referred to people in Congress who have accused him of being a “RINO,” or “Republican In Name Only.”
“And I think what you’ve had, the people in Congress that I was referring to that have attacked me and tried to say somehow that I was a RINO, they’re putting entertainment and personality over principle,” he said. “Our voters want us to stand on principle and fight for them.”
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