Trump launches scathing attack against DeSantis, former media allies

For all of his positive assets and prior accomplishments, former President Donald Trump is also his own greatest liability and worst enemy at times, and that was made clear in the aftermath of the relatively disappointing outcome of the midterm elections for most Republicans.

Trump issued a contradictory and rambling statement Thursday that viciously attacked former staunch allies like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and the few predominately right-leaning major media outlets, Politico reported.

The message came as those previously generally supportive media outlets — namely Fox News, the New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal — all reported positively on the stunning landslide victory for DeSantis and the GOP in Florida in comparison to the largely negative or uninspiring results for numerous Trump-endorsed candidates in Tuesday elections.

Trump on the warpath

“NewsCorp, which is Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and the no longer great New York Post … is all in for Governor Ron DeSanctimonious, an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations, who didn’t have to close up his State, but did, unlike other Republican Governors, whose overall numbers for a Republican, were just average — middle of the pack — including COVID, and who has the advantage of SUNSHINE, where people from badly run States up North would go no matter who the Governor was, just like I did!” Trump said in the statement.

Trump proceeded to tell a tale of how DeSantis, then a relatively unknown congressman, had approached him in 2017 in hope of an endorsement in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial primary race against Florida’s then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — who Trump both described as being “very good” but also as someone he “didn’t know” of.

DeSantis did, in fact, receive Trump’s endorsement and support rallies and won both the primary and the general election against Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum, once a rising “star” on the left who fell from grace after it was scandalously revealed that he used crack cocaine, among other things.

DeSantis not sufficiently deferential, per Trump

Trump even went on to suggest that he had used the FBI and Justice Department to stop alleged Democratic ballot fraud in Florida during the 2018 election that, save for Trump’s intervention, might have resulted in DeSantis losing that election.

It would appear, however, that Gov. DeSantis has not been sufficiently grateful or deferential for the assistance received, in Trump’s view — presumably because he has not definitively ruled out the possibility of launching a 2024 presidential bid that would quite obviously conflict with Trump’s plan to recapture the White House for a second term.

“And now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games!” Trump said in the statement. “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.”

Multiple attacks in less than a week

Thursday’s broadside attack on DeSantis was the culmination of multiple slights and swipes, co-mingled with a few positive remarks, the former president delivered against the Florida governor in the span of just a few days, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

It began Saturday with Trump’s new “Ron DeSanctimonious” nickname, followed Sunday by dueling campaign rallies in the state — though Trump did predict that DeSantis would win re-election and encouraged his supporters to vote for him. Election Day was even more confusing, as Trump threatened in an interview to reveal unflattering information against DeSantis if he ran against him in 2024, but then also admitted to having voted for him that same day.

Then, on Wednesday, Trump downplayed the significance of DeSantis’ massive victory and compared his own vote total in 2020 to the current election results — an apples-to-oranges comparison, given turnout differentials in a presidential vs. midterm election cycle — and capped it all off with Thursday’s rhetorical assault against the man who could most likely be his biggest rival in the 2024 GOP primary.