‘I don’t know what happened to Donald Trump’: DeSantis says ex-president is ‘running LEFT’, has ‘changed’ since first running for White House and his campaign is ‘going in the wrong direction’ ‘
- Ron DeSantis finally unloads attacks on ex-President Donald Trump
- DeSantis spent months avoiding criticism of now his main No. 1 election rival
- Florida’s governor joined the 2024 race in a botched Twitter announcement Wednesday after months of speculation
Ron DeSantis is finally going all in against Donald Trump in the days after he formally entered the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
For months, Florida’s governor avoided lashing out at the ex-president despite a barrage of attacks against him from Trump’s side. But now DeSantis has made some of his sharpest remarks against the man whose approval he once sought.
Speaking to conservative Tennessee radio host Matt Murphy, DeSantis claimed that Trump “is a different man today” than he was when he became president in 2016.
He also claimed that Trump’s campaign is showing increasing signs of leaning to the left rather than adhering to conservative values — something he vows not to do as a candidate or as president.
After the delayed and glitch-filled Twitter Spaces announcement of the governor with Elon Musk, DeSantis has turned to more traditional media sources as part of his post-campaign launch media glitter, such as radio.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally launches attacks on Donald Trump after months of dodging the former president and now his No. 1 Republican presidential rival
“He seems like he’s running to the left and I’ve always been someone who was stuck in conservative principles,” DeSantis told Murphy. So these are going to be interesting debates to have, but I can tell you, you don’t win nationally by going left, you win nationally by standing for bold policies. We showed that in Florida. I never watered down anything I did.”
“I don’t know what happened to Donald Trump; this is a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016 and I think the direction he’s going with his campaign is the wrong direction,” DeSantis said.
He also said in a separate interview that Trump’s early COVID-19 policies have “destroyed the lives of millions of people.”
“When he turned the land over to Fauci in March 2020, it destroyed the lives of millions of people,” DeSantis said, referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
On Fox News, DeSantis said one of his priorities on day one as president would be to fire Trump’s hand-picked FBI director Christopher Wray.
Florida’s governor, in particular, is arguing that he better deliver on the promises Trump made and failed to deliver in his only presidential term.
“Ultimately,” DeSantis told Murphy when speaking of Trump, “he goes left on a lot of the tax stuff, he goes left on culture, he even sides with Disney against me.”
Despite unloading on Trump Thursday, DeSantis also suggested that as president he would consider pardoning Trump if he is charged with a crime related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
“On Day 1, I’m going to have people get together and look at all these cases who are victims of weaponization or political targets and who will be aggressive in pardoning them,” DeSantis told The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show when he was asked about pardoning individuals charged in connection with the January 6 storming.
“We see that in a variety of contexts, some of which you mentioned,” DeSantis said. “Part of it is the FBI going after parents who go to school board meetings, part of it is how they treat a pro-life protester, how they don’t go after people who attack pro-life protesters.”
DeSantis was then asked if he would also consider pardoning Trump if he is indicted.
“I would say that an example of adverse treatment based on politics or armaments would be included in that review, no matter how small or how large,” he replied.