The energetic crowd of Donald Trump fans fell remarkably silent as the former president began mocking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a rally on Saturday.
Speaking to a crowd of MAGA supporters in Waco, Texas, Trump recounted how DeSantis once asked him for an endorsement so he could win governor of Florida.
The former president even mocked DeSantis for making the request, imitating him with a pleading, tearful voice.
But unlike Trump’s attacks on his other political rivals like Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz, the crowd didn’t seem to laugh or cheer at his comments, instead remaining eerily quiet during the tirade.
It was only after Trump quickly changed the subject and noted that he is ahead of other Republicans in the polls for the 2024 presidential election that the crowd began to perk and cheer again.
Former President Donald Trump told supporters in Waco, Texas, on Saturday how Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis once begged him to support him.
He claimed that DeSantis reached out to him with “tears in his eyes” and appeared at “mass rallies” for him. The two appear at one of the demonstrations in 2018.
Conservative broadcaster Piers Morgan said the reaction was “uncomfortable”.
While in Waco on Saturday, Trump told supporters how DeSantis approached him with “tears in his eyes” begging for an endorsement “while earning next to nothing” in the polls in 2018.
“So he came over and he really wanted to, I said, ‘You can’t win, right?'” Trump recounted before acting out how DeSantis begged him to back him in the Florida gubernatorial race.
“Sir, if you back me, I’ll win,” Trump imitated DeSantis in a pleading, tearful voice, as the crowd remained mostly silent. ‘”Please, please sir, support me.”‘
He said: “I don’t think I can do it” because the other guy was popular in rallying. He was going to be the next president of the United States,” the former president continued, before suggesting that he would have endorsed DeSantis’s Republican rival, Adam Putnam, if he knew better.
“I said, ‘Let’s try it, Ron,'” Trump said. “I did rallies for Ron, mass rallies and they were very successful,” the former president said. ‘So we got him the nomination. Then we got you the choice.
‘Two years later, the fake news is up there saying, “Would you run?” And he says, “I don’t have any comment.”
I say, “That’s not supposed to happen.”
Trump also criticized DeSantis for his record on Social Security and Medicare at Saturday’s rally, criticizing him for reopening Florida early after Trump shut down the nation during the COVID outbreak.
He even said that DeSantis is ‘not good’ at crime, mediaite reports, but got virtually no reaction from the crowd as he spoke.
Conservative broadcaster Piers Morgan called the reaction “uncomfortable” afterwards, tweeting: “Trump supporters don’t seem to like me attacking a wildly successful Republican governor…”
Another online user wrote: ‘Anyone who makes fun of DeSantis will only hurt him. Besides, he and everyone should understand that Ron hasn’t even entered the race yet. If he does, his numbers will skyrocket when he comes true.
While a third added: “That’s the most passive crowd I’ve ever seen,” while another chimed in: “Very low energy.”
Another commented, “You’re not doing yourself a favor by criticizing DeSantis.”
And a fifth Trump supporter admitted: ‘I voted for Trump twice. His over-sensitivity to DeSantis’ legitimate competition is a huge turnoff. Give me maturity; we have serious work to do to take back our country.’
Trump also criticized DeSantis for his record on Social Security and Medicare at Saturday’s rally.
Some DeSantis supporters and Trump ‘skeptics’ question whether he should run against the former president. DeSantis appears in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month.
The Florida governor dismissed the attacks on him as ‘background noise’ in a recent interview with Piers Morgan
Trump’s comments on Saturday were just the latest, as the former president attempts to go after his political rivals in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.
He previously attacked DeSantis on his Truth Social platform, using the nickname ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’.
The Florida governor later addressed the repeated attacks in a recent interview with Piers Morgan, saying that the “regular attempts to provoke him” are nothing more than “background noise.”
Still, the Republican base appears to favor Trump over DeSantis, with the former president leading in all polls.
A Morning Consult poll conducted March 17-19, for example, found that Trump has taken a 28-point lead over DeSantis, who garnered just 26 percent of the GOP’s support.
However, he fared slightly better in a head-to-head against President Biden than Trump.
When asked about a hypothetical matchup between Biden and DeSantis, respondents favored the incumbent president 43 to 41 percent.
In a hypothetical matchup between Biden and Trump, Biden has a 44-41 percent lead.
Now some in the Republican Party are wondering if DeSantis is ready to take on Trump.
At a luncheon after the annual Red Cross ball in Palm Beach, Florida, a group of 16 leading Republicans described nbc news while a mix of DeSantis supporters and Trump ‘skeptics’ discussed their doubts about the Florida governor’s political future.
“They liked it, many of them might even support it,” the unnamed source said. “But they thought, overall, that his long-term future was better without him trying to take Trump head on.”