Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to attacks from former President Donald Trump and the media on Tuesday.
Trump made a flurry of attacks against DeSantis in the days surrounding Election Day, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and claiming to be responsible for his success in Florida. DeSantis, Trump’s most credible rival for a presidential run in 2024, remained silent on the issue until responding to questions on the topic at a Tuesday press conference.
“One of the things I’ve learned in this job is when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire. That’s just the nature of it,” DeSantis said in response to a question about Trump. “I roll out of bed in the morning and I have corporate media outlets that have a spasm just because I’m getting up in the morning, and it’s just constantly attacking.”
“I think what you learn is all of that is just noise, and really what matters is are you leading, are you getting in front of issues, are you delivering results for people, and are you standing up for folks,” he continued. “At the end of the day I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
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Trump slammed DeSantis as “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations” in a statement last week.
“And now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games! The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, “I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future.” Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer,” Trump said in the Truth Social thread after saying DeSantis came to him in 2017 in “desperate shape” ahead of his first gubernatorial election and Trump “fixed his campaign.”
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DeSantis’ response comes just hours before Trump is expected to announce his 2024 presidential run at Mar-a-Lago.
Criticism of Trump, and support for DeSantis, have surged in the week following the disappointing midterm election results for Republicans. Many conservatives blamed Trump for endorsing poor candidates in key Senate and House races.
Meanwhile, Republicans in DeSantis’ Florida fared extremely well, with the governor dispatching Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by nearly 20 points.
Many conservative commentators took the election results as a sign it was time for the GOP to move on from Trump. Commentators argued that Trump’s candidates turned easy victories into close races, and close races into losses.
“All the chatter on my conservative and GOP channels is rage at Trump like I’ve never seen,” Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, wrote on Twitter. “‘The one guy he attacked before Election Day was DeSantis — the clear winner, meanwhile, all his guys are s—ing the bed.'”
Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.