As Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) prepares to launch his presidential candidacy next week, the former president of the United States has once again vilified him on the social media network Truth Social.
DeSantis is anticipated to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission next week before meeting with GOP donors in Miami after months of speculation. After Memorial Day, a more official launch is anticipated in the governor’s hometown of Dunedin, Florida, setting up what is certain to be a harsh confrontation with the former president.
But on Friday, Trump made it quite apparent that DeSantis’ bid for the Republican presidential nomination doesn’t bother him. “After campaigning for five months, and going nowhere but down, it looks like Ron DeSanctimonious will soon be entering the race. He has ZERO chance, and MAGA will never forget!” Trump posted on Truth Social.
As the governor prepared to run for president, DeSantis and Trump engaged in a bitter proxy war. To meet with GOP primary voters who might give them the boost to annihilate their opponent’s campaign next year, both men have been to early-voting states. In the important early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, their linked super PACs have already been set up with multimillion dollar ad expenditures supporting one candidate and disparaging the other.
Trump appears to be stepping up his criticism on the governor as DeSantis gets ready to announce his candidacy.
Trump criticized DeSantis in a video he posted on Friday morning for requiring his support in his initial 2018 bid for governor. “Ron DeSantis was struggling big time in his primary race for governor of Florida. Polls revealed DeSantis was failing so bad. He was losing by a staggering 17 points. Then DeSantis was saved by the endorsement of President Trump,” a voice-over said during the video before a clip showed DeSantis thanking Trump for the support.
“Unfortunately, instead of being grateful, DeSantis is now attacking the very man who saved his career. Isn’t it time DeSantis remembers how he got to where he is?” the voice-over continues.
During a phone call with GOP donors, DeSantis said he was the only Republican who could defeat President Joe Biden in 2024 and seize back control of the White House, according to the New York Times. According to reports, DeSantis remarked, “You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing. Biden, Trump, and me. And I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president — Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him.”
But after being attacked by Trump and his backers, DeSantis’ polling results have fallen. According to polling, Trump is the undisputed front-runner for the GOP in 2024, outpacing every rival, including DeSantis, by double digits. Trump has a 36 percentage point lead over DeSantis in the GOP field, according to the RealClearPolitics average of the surveys.
It is unclear whether DeSantis’ poll numbers will rise once he declares himself a presidential candidate.