The distance between former president Donald Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis is seemingly growing larger by the day.
This past week, Trump and DeSantis took some not-so-subtle shots of each other.
As Trump ramps up his 2024 presidential campaign, and DeSantis is supposedly getting ready to launch his own, the two are beginning to face off more publicly.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Long before DeSantis was considered a competitor of Trump, the former president endorsed him for Florida governor in 2017.
In return, DeSantis campaigned himself as a tried and true Trump man, even going as far as to make his campaign video filled with Trump-isms.
With the president’s support, DeSantis did end up becoming governor in 2018.
Trump indirectly called DeSantis “gutless” for refusing to disclose whether or not he received a Covid-19 booster shot after DeSantis avoided answering the question during an interview.
Although Trump only referred to politicians who refuse to answer as “gutless,” DeSantis was part of that camp.
Later on in the month, DeSantis revealed that one of his biggest regrets early on in the pandemic was not speaking out “much louder” about lockdowns while Trump advised people to stay home.
“Knowing now what I know then, if that was a threat earlier, I would have been much louder,” DeSantis said on the conservative podcast Ruthless.
According to sources close to DeSantis, the Florida governor did not seek Trump’s endorsement in re-election for governor POLITICO reported.
At a rally on 5th November, Trump bestowed his first non-positive nickname on DeSantis by calling him “Ron DeSanctimonous.”
Later on, Trump called him an “average Republican governor with great public relations.” He also criticised DeSantis for not directly answering the question if he was going to run for president.
In an interview, Trump said he would “beat” DeSantis “just like I would beat everyone else”
Over the course of October, Trump said DeSantis running for president would “not be good for the party” and expressed confidence that he would beat him.
“I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering — I know more about him than anybody — other than, perhaps, his wife,” Trump said.
DeSantis indirectly referred to Trump as a loser while addressing criticism he's received for Florida’s response to the pandemic.
“People are able to render a judgment on that whether they re-elect you or not and I’m happy to say in my case not only did we win re-election we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis' comment seemed to be a response to Trump accusing him of taking too liberal of an approach to Covid-19 restrictions in Florida.
Trump took to Truth Social where he reposted an alleged photo of DeSantis that claimed the Florida governor was "grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher."
In his repost, Trump wrote "That’s not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!"
In an interview with Piers Morgan, set to air on Thursday, 23 March, DeSantis, highlighted the differences between himself and Trump, saying he wouldn’t allow anyone in his government that created drama or stray from a shared agenda.
On Wednesday (22, March), Trump sent a press release calling DeSantis “an average Governor… for a Republican.”
He went on to bash DeSantis’ handling of Covid, claiming he was a “big Lockdown Governor” but also pointed out that Florida had more Covid deaths than New York. Trump continued to list bad qualities about Florida, using DeSantis as the governor as a scapegoat.
Trump also referred to DeSantis as “Rob” in another press release.
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