During a rally in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
“Trump at 71%, Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%,” the Trump told the crowd.
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) November 6, 2022
A whole lot of Republicans are freaking out on social media and in conservative media. Perhaps I’m a bit too dismissive of it but to me it was a standard Trump quip about a guy who he feels has betrayed him. Whether that’s a fair assessment or not is up for debate, but DeSantis has conspicuously avoided any engagement with Trump for months. Unlike pretty much every other Republican candidate in America, DeSantis hasn’t asked for Trump’s endorsement nor has he requested his involvement in an campaign events.
As Sundance over at The Conservative Treehouse noted, DeSantis has been trying to compete with Trump without coming out and saying he’s competing. But his actions aren’t those of someone who’s just trying to win reelection in Florida. It appears DeSantis is running two campaigns, one for reelection and one that’s laying the groundwork for a 2024 presidential run.
Still, there are valid points being made by some who are concerned about “friendly fire” even if it’s becoming increasingly clear there’s nothing friendly about the two likely 2024 primary opponents. The timing just before the midterms seems to be the biggest complaint. As Todd Starnes noted:
The Mainstream Media is having a field day — accusing the former president of openly attacking the man that many believe would make a great presidential contender. Conservatives were stunned and puzzled as to why Trump would fire a political bullet just days before the mid-term elections.
Bonchie over at Red State, a DeSantis 2024 supporter, wasn’t happy with Trump.
Personally, I’d like to at least get into mid-2023 before this stuff starts, and I don’t understand the play here aside from Trump being fearful DeSantis is going to grow his following with a blowout re-election. I mean, come on. Quoting a national primary poll? Trump has famously dismissed polls for years, and primaries are not a national vote. Momentum is everything, and the eventual nominee is decided based on targeted performances in specific states. Is Trump the favorite as of now? Sure, but that doesn’t mean much in November of 2022.
I’m not trying to make those who prefer Trump in 2024 mad. I’ve said many times I’d vote for him, and I’ve spent more articles than I can count on this site defending him from the often ridiculous predations of the mainstream media. I believe people can support Trump for the 2024 nomination based on the fact that they actually believe Trump is the best man for the job. There is no need to try to tear down DeSantis in the process, especially not before he’s even declared a run for the presidency.
Further, going after DeSantis in this manner, even as a “joke,” makes Trump look weak and insecure. Notice that the crowd barely reacted. I think that’s because even most Trump supporters aren’t down with attacking DeSantis, at least not right now. The guy has been too effective and has chalked up too many wins.
I know it ruffles feathers among some when I critique Trump, but this wasn’t a good look. The time to start running for president is mid-2023, not days before a mid-term that could decide the fate of the country. Republicans need to keep their eye on the ball. Nothing else matters right now but winning back Congress.
There were plenty of reactions from conservatives on Twitter, but they generally sounded something like this:
The great Ronald Reagan said that Republicans should never disparage each other. This was not a good moment. pic.twitter.com/jAnnH5UTjf
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) November 6, 2022
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