Trump mocks DeSantis over resurfaced video of Maga flag on baby daughter’s crib: ‘Thanks, Ron!’

The Florida governor’s newly-open rivalry with Donald Trump has ignited beginnings of a GOP civil war

John Bowden
Washington DC
Tuesday 15 November 2022 12:57 GMT
Smirking Biden says he’s enjoying DeSantis-Trump rivalry

Donald Trump has mocked rival Ron DeSantis over a resurfaced campaign video featuring excessive praise of the one-time president.

On Sunday, the Democrat-aligned Twitter account Patriot Takes shared an old DeSantis campaign ad from 2018 in which the then-candidate for Florida governor and his family swear fealty to Mr Trump in an over-exaggerated fashion.

Mr Trump himself responded to the clip going viral this week - as the pair ramp up their bitter battle over the GOP - by writing on Truth Social: “Thanks, Ron!”

In the video, Mr DeSantis’s wife is heard explaining all the ways that the governor is a good father, while her husband is seen teaching his infant daughter to “build the wall” with blocks and reading from Mr Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal”.

At the end of the ad, Mr DeSantis is seen placing his infant daughter in a crib adorned with a large Trump flag.

The ad was part of Mr DeSantis’s 2018 campaign for governor, when the Republican rising star defeated his opponent Andrew Gillum by less than one percentage point and went on to turn his administration into a champion of conservative culture war issues.

At the time, Mr DeSantis was closely aligned with then-president Mr Trump, who endorsed his candidacy. In recent days, however, the two GOP leaders have split potentially irreversably as the ex-president, clearly concerned about a likely 2024 primary battle against Mr DeSantis, has begun openly swinging at his presumed opponent.

In multiple statements in recent days, Mr Trump has demanded credit for the governor’s political success and dubbed him “Ron DeSanctimonious” as he faces blame from other parts of the Republican Party for the poor showing of many of his chosen candidates in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

That souring of their relationship makes the governor’s past advertisement look all the more bizarre; the Patriot Takes Twitter account dubbed the entire video “super cringe”.

“I thought this was a parody,” one Twitter user responded.

“[T]his couldn't possibly get any creepier,” quipped another.

Mr Trump joined in on the fun after midnight on Tuesday, tweeting his thanks to the Florida governor for his past support.

Trump mocked DeSantis by resharing a 2018 campaign video with heavy praise of the one-time president
Trump mocked DeSantis by resharing a 2018 campaign video with heavy praise of the one-time president (Truth Social)

Mr DeSantis cleanly won reelection last week against Democrat and former governor Charlie Crist; all across Florida, Republicans achieved similar victories and the state was one of a few bright spots for the GOP amid a dismal nationwide showing that saw the party fail to retake the Senate and potentially the House as well.

As a result, the Florida governor has been anointed the new leader of the Republican Party and conservative movement by a number of writers in right-leaning media over the weekend. The party’s elites are desperately seeking to shed the burden of Mr Trump from the party and see his movement’s weakness on Tuesday as a means of making that happen.

The former president, meanwhile, has teased a major announcement from his Mar-a-Lago residence set for Tuesday. Presumably, it’s set to be the beginning of his third bid for the White House.

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