Trump Ramps Up Attack on ‘RINO GLOBALIST’ DeSantis

Former president Trump continued his assault on Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s Covid record on Wednesday, stoking a brewing feud that’s expected to culminate in a 2024 face off.

Trump, who recently announced his third presidential bid, accused DeSantis of embracing lockdowns and promoting a vaccine that Trump now maligns after centering its successful and speedy development as one of the crowning achievements of his one term in office.

“The real Ron is a RINO GLOBALIST, who closed quickly down Florida and even its beaches. Loved the Vaccines and wasted big money on ‘Testing.’ How quickly people forget!,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Trump was responsible for launching Operation Warp Speed, the public–private project to expedite the development, production, and distribution of Covid vaccines that began in May 2020.

During a campaign stop in South Carolina last weekend, Trump defended his early performance in the polls against DeSantis, who has not yet entered the race.

“If he runs, that’s fine. I’m way up in the polls. He’s going to have to do what he wants to do, but he may run,” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview. Trump insisted that a 2024 challenge from DeSantis would be a betrayal, as he claimed he propped him up during his gubernatorial run.

“I do think it would be a great act of disloyalty because, you know, I got him in. He had no chance. His political life was over,” Trump said Saturday.

DeSantis rose to national prominence during the Covid-19 crisis, when he routinely battled the progressive left on pandemic-mitigation and culture-war issues, prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools and banning mask mandates for public facilities in the state.

Trump began his campaign against DeSantis’s Covid record in the fall at a rally he was hosting for failed Republican Senate and gubernatorial candidates Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano. There, Trump boasted that he was polling way above “Ron DeSanctimonious” for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination.

“There are Republican governors that did not close their states. Florida was closed for a long period of time.” Trump told reporters on Saturday in South Carolina, according to Fox News. “They’re trying to rewrite history.”

Despite possible competition from DeSantis and his own cabinet members such as former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who is expected to declare her 2024 bid on February 15, Trump said he is confident of his staying power.

“I don’t think we have competition this time either to be honest,” Trump told a crowd in New Hampshire earlier Saturday, Fox noted.

Trump again lashed out at DeSantis over his record on Covid at a rally in New Hampshire over the weekend.

“There are Republican governors that did not close their states; Florida was closed for a long period of time,” he told the crowd.

Trump’s attacks on DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic contradict his earlier praise for the governor. In October 2020, Trump actually lauded DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic during a reelection rally in Ocala, Fla., and called him “one of the greatest governors in our country.”

“We had surges, and they went up and they went down, and now you’re at your lowest numbers,” Trump said at the time. “And you’re open and you didn’t close, and you’re just amazing — right, this guy?”

When asked about Trump’s latest round of attacks at a press briefing Tuesday, the governor replied: “When you’re an elected executive, you have to make all kinds of decisions. You got to steer that ship. And the good thing is that the people are able to render a judgment on that — whether they reelect you or not.”

While many of the Trump-endorsed candidates in the 2022 midterms lost their races, DeSantis overwhelmingly won reelection as governor of Florida.

“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,” DeSantis added. “We won by the largest raw vote margin — over 1.5 million votes — than any governor candidate has ever had in Florida history.”

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