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Trump rants against ‘average’ DeSantis as GOP midterm fallout spreads

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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!”

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

Trump, whose divisive intervention in the midterms is being blamed for independents turning decisively against Republican candidates, further 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.”

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

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.

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. 

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