Ron DeSantis is surprised by how quickly a resurgent Donald Trump has started attacking him and is furious that the former president expects allegiance while he spreads personal insults, a member of his inner circle said.
But Florida’s governor will continue to try to take the high road as the race for the 2024 White House heats up, the aide revealed.
After eventually criticizing Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg who brought the case against Trump, he directly referenced “porn star hush money” to show that he “wouldn’t be bullied” by the former president, the insider told the Washington Post.
The source also said they expect the governor to push back Trump more aggressively when he formally announces his candidacy for president.
If he does, he will take “the high road” and talk to Trump about policy instead of name-calling, they said.
Last month, Trump said DeSantis cried when he asked for his endorsement in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race and that he would work at a pizzeria if he didn’t get the ex-president’s support.
Ron DeSantis tried to avoid a bloody battle of personal defamation with Donald Trump, those in his inner circle told the Washington Post
Trump has been relentless in his personal attacks on Florida’s governor, who is currently his biggest threat, saying last month that DeSantis cried as he asked for his endorsement in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race
When it emerged last month that Trump would face charges over “hush money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, a number of Republicans and Trump loyalists quickly attacked Manhattan’s prosecutor for a “political prosecution.”
DeSantis, however, was curiously quiet and took a cautious approach to Trump’s indictment. That seems to have cost him, according to recent polls, which show Trump is now more than twice as popular among other Republicans and independents.
Those familiar with his mindset have now said it was part of a balancing act between avoiding a bloody confrontation that could hurt his presidential ambitions and coming on strong in the face of an aggressive and antagonistic Trump.
To appease Trump, Florida’s governor declared his state “would not assist with an extradition request,” even after Trump’s team indicated he would surrender.
Trump apparently got his campaign boosted by Bragg’s indictment and is once again raising huge sums of money.
Many grassroots Republicans and Independents have also been reminded of the former president’s sheer charisma and slovenliness, which even Democrats admit is a force to be reckoned with.
DeSantis polls appear to have fallen against Trump in recent weeks, with 58 percent supporting Trump, compared to just 21 percent supporting DeSantis
Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last month that he only knew DeSantis because he was one of several GOP lawmakers who defended him during his impeachment inquiries when he was president.
“So what happened to Ron is this,” Trump told Hannity in an interview. “He came to see me, he was killed, he was crushed. Adam Putnam, it was over.”
“Ron came to see me with tears in his eyes,” the ex-president continued. “He said, ‘You must be doing me a big favor.’ I said, “What’s the favor?” ‘Would you support me? I fought for you.”
Trump has repeatedly said that DeSantis would not have won his primary race against former Representative Adam Putnam if he had not received his support. Trump also claims that if DeSantis runs for president in 2024, it would be very “disloyal” to him.
DeSantis polls appear to have fallen against Trump in recent weeks, with 58 percent supporting Trump compared to just 21 percent supporting DeSantis.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is pictured making his first trip to Iowa state for early voting in March. It would be difficult for him to use dollars raised in Florida for a national GOP campaign
Last month, DeSantis characterized Russia’s war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute.”
He has since reversed the comments after criticism from some fellow Republicans who expressed concern at such a dismissive portrayal of the conflict.
That said, his comments echo those of many mainstream voters, who are increasingly concerned about the $112 billion — and growing — that the US has so far given to Ukraine, with bipartisan support.
The comments may serve to show how DeSantis still has some way to go when it comes to developing his political skills to make the transition from governor to presidential candidate.
Although Trump has officially been in the presidential race since November, DeSantis as his closest rival has not yet announced an official White House bid.
DeSantis won another term at the Florida governor’s mansion in November by a margin of nearly 20 points in a state that has historically been a battle between Democrats and Republicans.