Trump demands ‘average’ DeSantis duck 2024 run in post-midterm tantrum

Former President Donald Trump went on a rant against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — a potential rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images



Former President Donald Trump broke cover Thursday evening and insisted that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rule himself out of the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, describing his potential rival as an “average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations.”

“Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games! The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future,’”  Trump said in a tantrum issued from his Save America PAC, reprising a nickname for DeSantis trialed at a Nov. 5 rally in Pennsylvania. “Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”

The 45th president, who was lampooned as “Trumpty Dumpty” on the front page of Thursday’s Post after his handpicked candidates struggled in the most crucial of Tuesday’s midterm elections, took credit for DeSantis’ rise to the Florida governorship and suggested that weather was the real reason for the 44-year-old’s popularity.

“Governor Ron DeSanctimonious,” the former president said, “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations, who didn’t have to close up his State, but did, unlike other Republican Governors, whose overall numbers for a Republican, were just average—middle of the pack—including COVID, and who has the advantage of SUNSHINE, where people from badly run States up North would go no matter who the Governor was, just like I did!”

The former president, whose divisive intervention in the midterms is being blamed for independents turning decisively against Republican candidates, alleged that DeSantis “came to me in desperate shape in 2017—he was politically dead, losing in a landslide” in Florida’s GOP gubernatorial primary.

“Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said that if I would Endorse him, he could win … I said, ‘Let’s give it a shot, Ron,’” Trump said. “When I Endorsed him, it was as though, to use a bad term, a nuclear weapon went off.”

Prior to Trump’s June 2018 tweet, in which he issued his “full endorsement”of DeSantis, the former congressman was trailing Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in numerous polls. The endorsement propelled DeSantis ahead of Putnam in the polls by as much as 19 points less than a month later. DeSantis won the primary by a comfortable margin in August 2018.

Trump went on to claim that he had “stopped” DeSantis’ first election win over Democrat Andrew Gillum from “being stolen” before complaining about the Florida governor’s noncommittal answers about a potential White House run. There is no evidence that ballot theft occurred in Florida’s 2018 governor’s race.

“Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games! The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future,’” he said. “Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”

DeSantis, who won reelection by almost 20 percentage points Tuesday night over Democrat Charlie Crist, had no immediate response to Trump, instead tweeting a warning about proper generator use as Tropical Storm Nicole lashed the Sunshine State.

Trump-backed candidates didn’t perform nearly as well as DeSantis did on Tuesday night, or even as well as other Republicans in their own states without Trump’s seal of approval.

In Georgia, Trump-endorsed college football legend Herschel Walker, unable to muster 50% of the vote, appears to be headed to a run off in his Senate race against incumbent Democrat Rafael Warnock. Gov. Brian Kemp, however, decisively defeated Stacey Abrams in the Peach State without a Trump endorsement and even after the former president’s super PAC spent $500,000 attacking him in the primaries.

In New Hampshire, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, who earlier this year called Trump “f—ing crazy,” easily won his reelection bid, by more than 15 points, without a Trump endorsement. In contrast, Don Bolduc, a pro-Trump former general who has expressed skepticism about the results of the 2020 election, lost his Senate race to Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassen by 9 points.

Trump called DeSantis an “average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations.”
Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images

In the swing state of Pennsylvania, Trump-backed Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano lost by 13 percentage points to Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro. Dr. Mehmet Oz did marginally better in his Senate race against Lt. Gov. John  Fetterman but still lost by 3 points. The difference between the two Trump-backed candidates was Oz’s reluctance to promote the former president’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen, like Mastriano did.

Many in the GOP have pinned the blame on Trump for these losses and don’t want to see him on the Republican presidential campaign ticket in 2024.

“I would certainly like to see the party move forward. There are a lot of rising stars,” Congressman-elect Mike Lawler — who flipped New York’s 17th Congressional District – told The Post.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan also blasted Trump after the midterms, calling him a “drag on our ticket.” 

“I think we’re going to have to do a lot of soul-searching and head-scratching, looking through and parsing the numbers as to why we didn’t perform as well as we would have liked to,” Ryan told Wisconsin TV station WISN on Wednesday.

“I think Trump’s kind of a drag on our ticket,” he continued, adding that Trump “gives us problems, politically.”

“I think we just have some Trump hangover. I think he’s a drag on our office, on our races,” Ryan said.

Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R) also said on Thursday that she “could not support” a 2024 presidential run by Trump.“I could not support him. I just couldn’t,” Sears told Fox’s Neil Cavuto.

“The voters have spoken, and they’ve said they want a different leader,” Sears, a former US Marine, added.

Even Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, seemed to suggest that his former boss’s politicking tactics aren’t working.

[Video provided in link above]

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