Trump posts fresh attack on DeSantis while insisting ‘I couldn’t care less’ if Florida governor runs against him

DeSantis remains only Republican polling competitively against Trump for 2024

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 30 April 2023 20:57 BST
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Former President Donald Trump continued his contradictory campaign of attacks targeting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this weekend, insisting that the poltician who has been the subject of his relentless sniping in fact poses no threat to him.

The ex-president posted his latest take on the state of the 2024 Republican primary on Truth Social late on Sunday morning, writing that he “couldn’t care less” if Mr DeSantis chose to run against him for the GOP nomination.

“I couldn’t care less if Ron DeSanctus runs, but the problem is the Bill he is about to sign, which allows him to run without resigning from being Governor, totally weakens Election Integrity in Florida,” wrote Mr Trump, apparently now shortening the “Ron DeSanctimonious” nickname he previously came up with for the governor.

“Instead of getting tough, and doing what the people want (same day voting, Voter ID, proof of Citizenship, paper ballots, hand count, etc.) this Bill guts everything. It will allow dirty Voter rolls to get dirtier, weakens transparency, and is a total mess. It’s simple, all we want is a Free and Fair Election, and an honest count,” he continued.

Even so, Mr Trump has taken every available opportunity to prove the opposite: that he views Mr DeSantis as his top rival and most serious obstacle ahead of the 2024 primaries. The Florida governor has been targeted by his would-be opponent in speeches, video messages, Truth Social rants, and even targeted press releases from the Trump campaign as Mr Trump seeks to snuff out a DeSantis bid before it gets off the ground.

Mr DeSantis has not yet said for certain whether he plans to run, though he has never denied plans to do so. GOP operatives close to the Florida governor revealed last week that Mr DeSantis plans to launch an exploratory bid for the nomination in May; such a move would be the unofficial launch of a campaign for which he has been laying the ground work for months, including trips to early primary states, Capitol Hill, and even abroad as he searches for allies and looks to build his national profile.

In polling, he remains the only Republican able to register support levels in the double-digits; still, he remains far behind Mr Trump in surveys of the hypothetical 2024 landscape, and has slipped even further behind in recent weeks following Mr Trump’s indictment on 32 criminal counts.

The Florida governor was confronted with this polling slip during a press conference last week as reports about the early stages of his campaign continued to trickle out, and had a blustery response that was mocked by supporters of the former president and some Democrats across social media platforms in the days following.

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