Trump unloads on ‘average’ Ron DeSantis as Fox News, New York Post embrace Florida governor

With the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections fueling criticism of his leadership, President Donald Trump unloaded on likely 2024 rival Ron DeSantis in a lengthy social media post that described the Florida governor (R) as “average” and disloyal. 

Trump also accused Fox News of being “all in” for “DeSanctimonious” in the scathing message, which marked a dramatic escalation in a feud that has begun to divide the GOP.

Trump unloads on DeSantis

In the post, Trump took credit for DeSantis’ rise to fame and said he was “playing games” by refusing to say whether he would challenge him in 2024.

“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,'” Trump said in the statement. “Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”

Trump also lambasted “collusion” by Fox News and other right-wing media outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch, which have appeared to embrace DeSantis as the future of the party following the GOP’s underperformance in the midterm elections.

“This is just like 2015 and 2016, a Media Assault (Collusion!) when Fox News fought me to the end until I won,” he wrote. “The Wall Street Journal loved low energy Jeb Bush, and a succession of other people as they rapidly disappeared from sight.”

Conservative media turn on Trump

Since the election, a consensus has quickly emerged among right-leaning pundits and political figures, including longtime Trump critics like Paul Ryan, that Trump has become a burden to the Republican party. While some candidates backed by Trump faltered, DeSantis won re-election by a landslide.

An unflattering cover from Thursday’s issue of the Murdoch-owned New York Post depicted Trump as Humpty Dumpty with the caption, “Don (who couldn’t build a wall) had a great fall — can all the GOP’s men put the party back together again?”

The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by Murdoch, published a scathing editorial calling Trump “the Republican Party’s biggest loser,” and various Fox News personalities have been taking shots at Trump since the election.

On the other hand, Trump’s defenders include Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R), who said Trump’s supporters will not “accept any imitation” in an op-ed.

DeSantis has given no firm indication he intends to run, but many expect that he will capitalize on his meteoric rise in popularity. Trump is expected to launch his campaign next Tuesday.