After months of waving off taunts from Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hit back – and he didn’t pull any punches.
DeSantis took shots at the former president’s character and leadership during the interview set to run Thursday, which Morgan previewed in the New York Post. This marks the first time the governor has outwardly criticized Trump.
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‘Winner’ is a better nickname than ‘meatball Ron’
Despite months of taunting, DeSantis hadn’t engaged with Trump’s attempts to provoke him, which has grown increasingly common as DeSantis has emerged as Trump’s top challenger for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
“To me, it’s just background noise,” DeSantis said of Trump’s taunts.
And of the nicknames Trump has coined for the Florida governor, among which is “Ron DeSanctimonious” and ”Meatball Ron,” DeSantis said he didn’t mind what people called him as long as they also called him a “winner.”
“It’s not important for me to be fighting with people on social media. It’s not accomplishing anything for the people I represent,” DeSantis added. “If I got involved in all the under tow I would not be able to be an effective Governor.”
DeSantis slams Trump’s chaotic presidency, leadership
The governor also took a swipe at Trump’s tumultuous four years in the White House, which was often overshadowed by Trump’s personal transgressions and key personnel turnover.
“I also think just in terms of my approach to leadership, I get personnel in the government who have the agenda of the people and share our agenda. You bring your own agenda in, you’re gone,” DeSantis said. “So, the way we run the Government I think is no daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board and I think that’s something that’s very important.”
When asked about key differences between himself and Trump, DeSantis told Morgan he would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic differently, adding he would have fired Anthony Fauci, who was then advising Trump as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
No promises on 2024 presidential bid
Despite being considered Trump’s top rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and just falling slightly behind the former president in recently polling, DeSantis has yet to make any official presidential bid.
“I haven’t made a final decision on it,” DeSantis said. I’ve told people that I’ve got a lot to do over the next few months in Florida. We’re gonna put a lot of points on the board. And then we’ll see how the dust settles after that.”
Although DeSantis made no promises, he told Morgan that if he were to run, he would be running against President Joe Biden, adding that he believes he’d win against him in a general election as well.
“If I were to run … I’m running against Biden,” DeSantis said. “I’m gonna focus on is Biden because I think he’s failed the country. I think the country wants a change. I think they want a fresh start and a new direction and so we’ll be very vocal about that.”