Several on the right were furious that Donald Trump came up with a mocking nickname for Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis just days before the midterm elections and his own re-election race.
The harsh digs on the former president apparently reached Trump, who called a single pitch for DeSantis at a Sunday rally in Miami – to which the Florida governor was clearly not invited.
“The people of Florida will re-elect the wonderful and great friend of mine, Marco Rubio, to the United States Senate,” said Trump (who has long disparaged the senator as “Little Marco”). “And you will re-elect Ron DeSantis as your governor.”
Trump ripped ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ at a rally in Pennsylvania the day before and touted stunning polling numbers giving him an incredible 60-point lead over DeSantis if the men decided to run against each other for the nomination Republican presidential. (Trump did not provide a source for the numbers.)
Trump was clearly focused on his own future and apparently didn’t give much thought to DeSantis’ election battle on Tuesday (which he is expected to win easily).
But right-wing infighting isn’t good right now, critics have complained.
“What an idiot,” Rod Dreher, editor of The American Conservative, tweeted after Trump’s attack on a right-wing colleague, warning that alienating DeSantis supporters is not a wise strategy.
The Daily Wire’s right-wing writer Matt Walsh poked fun that “Trump won’t be able to take down ‘DeSantis’ with a dumb nickname. He better have more than that up his sleeve,” he said. he tweeted.
“Also, good job launching your public attack on America’s most popular conservative governor three days before midterms when we’re all supposed to show a united front,” Walsh quipped.
Fox News contributor Joe Conchas warned the attack would have a “boomerang effect” on Trump.
“Nearly all Trump supporters are big fans of the Governor of Florida and agree with his policies and his approach to running Florida. This comes just 3 days before an election and gives the former president a bad image,” he wrote.
Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo — who could also be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination — spoke up for DeSantis, though he didn’t have the courage to call out Trump.
Trump has clearly been nervous about facing DeSantis in a GOP presidential race for some time. His surrogate and longtime political operative, Roger Stone, has been trying for months to push back against the governor of Florida.
Stone is the one who apparently coined the new moniker. Last month, he warned “Ron DeSanctimonious” in a message on Telegram that it would be “treason” if he ran against Trump for the GOP presidential nomination. Stone called DeSantis an “ingrate,” who he says owes his position to Trump’s support.
A year ago, Stone warned DeSantis that he would try to spoil the governor’s re-election by running against him unless DeSantis “pledges” not to run for president.
DeSantis did not commit and Stone did not show up.