Feb 8, 2023
DeSantis Blasts Trump as Republicans’ 2024 Presidential Race Heats Up
(Bloomberg) -- Ron DeSantis fired back at Donald Trump for the ex-president’s intensifying broadsides against Florida’s governor as the war of words between the two potential GOP 2024 primary front-runners deepens.
“I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden. That’s how I spend my time,” DeSantis said at a press conference Wednesday in response to a question about Trump’s ramped-up attacks. “I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans.”
DeSantis is widely expected to enter the 2024 Republican presidential race, and some polls show the Florida governor defeating Trump in primary match-ups. Trump has resumed using the “Ron DeSanctimonious” nickname he gave the governor before the November midterm elections and launched other attacks, including saying that “the real Ron is a RINO GLOBALIST,” or Republican in Name Only.
Trump’s latest jab was a Tuesday post on his personal social media network that insinuated DeSantis engaged in sexual grooming.
DeSantis was asked at the press conference whether the Truth Social posts could be defamatory. He said he’s faced “defamatory stuff every single day I’ve been governor” but that he has a platform to fight back.
A Trump campaign spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Trump has jabbed at other Republicans besides DeSantis in recent days. On Sunday, he mocked Chris Christie, another potential 2024 candidate, who said Trump couldn’t beat Biden in a rematch. “’Sloppy’ Chris Christie, the failed former Governor of New Jersey, spent almost his entire last year in office campaigning in New Hampshire for the Republican Nomination for President,” Trump said in a Truth Social post, calling the bid “a complete disaster.”
During President Biden’s Tuesday State of the Union, Trump mocked the appearance of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who Trump routinely singles out for criticism — writing that McConnell “looks like Hell, so bad for the Republican Party!”
The former president has also targeted Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the UN who’s expected to announce her White House bid on Feb. 15, for initially saying she wouldn’t run in 2024 if Trump did and for being “overly ambitious.”
DeSantis had largely refrained from responding to Trump but has started to push back more. Responding on Jan. 31 to Trump’s attacks on DeSantis’s pandemic response, the Florida governor said voters rendered judgment when they reelected him overwhelmingly last year and defeated Trump in 2020.
Standing in front of boxes of gas stoves, diapers and strollers, DeSantis on Wednesday highlighted his legislative proposal for tax breaks to help deal with high inflation, including a permanent sales tax exemption for gas stoves, baby and toddler necessities, and over-the-counter pet medications.
DeSantis also responded to Biden’s comment in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that “we’re going to need oil for at least another decade,” saying the president’s administration is discouraging energy production and fueling inflation.
“You have policy that is designed to make it more difficult to produce American energy,” DeSantis said. “Of course that’s going to contribute to inflation.”
(Adds details on Trump’s attacks starting 7th paragraph)
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