DeSantis allies privately express anger at Trump’s ‘DeSanctimonious’ jab

Author: Robert Costa and Kathryn Watson / CBS
Split image showing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis next to former President Donald Trump. Credit: CBS

Several allies of Gov. Ron DeSantis, including some who are close to former President Donald Trump, have privately expressed anger and even disgust with Trump for publicly calling his fellow Republican “Ron DeSanctimonious,” CBS News reports. They’re urging DeSantis, his family and his top aides to move forward with a 2024 presidential bid.

The allies reached out to CBS News unprompted, after Trump, during a Saturday night rally in Pennsylvania, gave DeSantis the new nickname. But Trump didn’t repeat the “DeSanctimonious” comments the next day in Florida when he stumped for GOP candidates in the Miami area. In Florida, DeSantis is at the top of the ticket, running for reelection. Trump instead urged attendees to “reelect Ron DeSantis as your governor” this week. DeSantis is trying to fend off a challenge by Democrat Charlie Crist, who was a Republican when he served as governor from 2007 to 2011.

With the end in sight for the 2022 midterm elections, tensions over potential presidential 2024 competition are rising to the surface between Trump and DeSantis – two key figures on the Republican landscape. In 2018, Trump endorsed DeSantis early in the race for governor, campaigned with him in Florida and was considered to be a big factor in DeSantis’ victory.

CBS Miami asked Trump what he meant by calling the governor “Ron DeSanctimonious,” and whether he considered DeSantis ungrateful for his help.

“Well, let’s see what happens,” Trump told CBS Miami. “But in the meantime, we hope he gets elected. And you know, I’ve always had a very good relationship with him. But let’s see what happens.”

Neither Trump nor DeSantis has announced a 2024 presidential bid, but soon after the 2022 midterms, the race for the White House in 2024 is likely to take off.

DeSantis’ political action committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, has raised nearly $209 million for his 2022 reelection efforts, according to campaign finance data, which is substantially more than he’ll end up spending.

Already, Trump has indicated his own announcement could come within weeks of the midterm elections. CBS News reported last week that the former president has been calling his donor base to inform loyalists about his thinking and to solicit feedback. Three Trump advisers told CBS News that Nov. 14 is one possible date, though another said the date is still fluid.

At least one potential Republican contender has decided against a White House bid this time around. A source close to Sen. Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, said he would not run for president in 2024.


Arden Farhi and Fin Gomez contributed to this report.

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