In a scathing statement aimed at a likely 2024 rival, Donald Trump claimed that he dispatched federal agents to save Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ 2018 election victory from being “stolen.”
The statement came amid a feud between the GOP leaders that has escalated following the party’s disappointing midterm election performance, which many have sought to blame on Trump.
Trump makes big DeSantis claim
According to Trump, DeSantis was in “desperate shape” when Trump endorsed him in 2018, giving DeSantis a game-changing boost over then-frontrunner Adam Putnam in the gubernatorial primary.
But Trump said he continued to help DeSantis out in the general election when votes were “being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day.”
Trump said he and then-governor Rick Scott, a Republican who was running for the Senate at the time, “sent in the FBI and the U.S. attorneys” to stop the “ballot theft.”
“I stopped his Election from being Stolen,” Trump claimed.
DeSantis and Scott narrowly won their races after a chaotic ballot counting process in Broward County, a heavily Democratic area, that led to outrage and accusations of voter fraud. Brenda Snipes, the Broward supervisor of elections, resigned under pressure.
DeSantis won re-election by a landslide on Tuesday, flipping Miami-Dade County red for the first time in years. The underwhelming performance by the GOP nationwide led many Republican pundits and politicians to blame Trump, while hailing DeSantis as the future of the party.
But Trump blasted DeSantis as an “average” governor and an ingrate who is “playing games” by failing to say whether he will run for president.
“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.
Trump also assailed “collusion” by Fox News and other right-leaning news outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch that have embraced DeSantis since the election.
Even as Trump faces what appears to be a coordinated takedown, he has been endorsed by some Republicans like Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R). Trump is expected to declare he is running for president on November 15.