‘Misery and despair’: Trump releases lengthy campaign email bashing DeSantis’ track record in Florida 

Reporter: Kellie Miller Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign called Gov. Ron DeSantis’ track record in Florida “one of misery and despair” in a lengthy statement released before Trump’s speech in Fort Myers.

The statement went on to bash Trump’s potential presidential rival and his ability to lead.

“The real DeSantis record is one of misery and despair. He has left a wake of destruction all across Florida and people are hurting because he has spent more time playing public relations games instead of actually doing the hard-work needed to improve the lives of the people he represents,” said Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung.

The campaign email titled “The Real Ron DeSantis Playbook,” contains a list of almost 30 claims on issues related to taxes, education, housing, and healthcare in Florida. 

“While Ron DeSantis engages in a weeks-long shadow campaign for president boasting his playbook, Florida continues to tumble into complete and total delinquency and destruction,” the Trump campaign said.

The release references various news reports and studies claiming that Florida is one of the least affordable states to live in the country, one of the worst states in the nation to raise a family, the third-worst state for fair taxes in the nation, and more. 

“One of the things that Trump is trying to do, he’s trying to define Governor DeSantis, before he defines himself,” said Dr. Peter Bergerson, a political science expert and professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.

According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, Florida has a low tax burden compared with other U.S. states. However, WINK’s partner PolitiFact found that Florida is also a highly unequal tax state, meaning low-income people pay a much higher share of their income in taxes than their wealthier peers. Bergerson believes Trump is smart for taking aim at complex issues like fair taxes in Florida. 

“Governor DeSantis is running on a campaign of his accomplishments here in Florida as governor for six years, and the fact that he had won an overwhelming victory two years ago,” Bergerson said. “And so what Trump wants to point out is the deficits or the things that have been neglected, or the problems that Florida has.”

Trump then brings up recent gas shortages in South Florida, claiming that nearly half of the gas stations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale are without fuel. He cites an article from The Hill.

“While nearly half of the gas stations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale are without fuel, those Floridians lucky enough to find a gas station with fuel will be paying a stiff premium,” the Trump campaign said.

While that might have been the case in the days immediately following April’s widespread flooding, it’s not the case anymore. According to the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, about 1% of gas stations are out at this point, and panic-buying has settled. A spokesperson also told WINK News that their team is unaware of any premiums. 

Taxes and gas availability are just two of the 27 topics that Trump hit on in his recent campaign statement. Ultimately, Bergerson believes this is just the start of what’s going to unfold between the former president and DeSantis in the next six months. 

“You are going to see a lot more direct personal attacks by both,” he said. “I think that the advertisement or the political promotion that you’ve pointed out, is going to go verbal and we will see these now as part of campaign commercials. You’ll see it as part of Trump’s campaign stock speech…I also think that Governor DeSantis has to make a decision. Is he going to respond in kind?”

DeSantis has still not publicly announced a run for president. However, he did hint that he will make a decision after the state’s legislative session ends in May. ‘WINK Investigates’ reporter Kellie Miller reached out to DeSantis’ campaign team for a response to Trump’s statements but has not heard back.

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