The cold war between Donald Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) is getting personal, with Trump accusing the Republican rising star of “grooming” teenage girls when he was a high school teacher.
DeSantis responded to Trump’s claim Wednesday by saying he doesn’t have time to waste on “smearing other Republicans.”
“I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden,” DeSantis said. “That’s how I spend my time. I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans.”
Trump’s shock accusation
The post that Trump shared on Truth Social purported to show “Ron DeSanctimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.”
The image shows a man with a resemblance to DeSantis surrounded by young women with their faces blurred out at what appears to be a house party.
“That’s not Ron, is it?” Trump wrote, sarcastically. “He would never do such a thing!”
The picture originates from a left-wing blog called Hill Reporter.
The New York Times reported last year that DeSantis taught high school when he was 23 at Darlington School in Georgia after graduating Yale and before going to Harvard Law.
Former students at the boarding school told the newspaper that DeSantis had the eye of female pupils at the school, and that he had a reputation for being a “cool” teacher who sometimes partied with seniors.
Two former students told the paper that DeSantis attended two parties with seniors after graduation where alcohol was present.
“It was his first job out of Yale, he was cute. We didn’t really think too much about it,” one of the students said.
Republican civil war heats up
Trump has made it clear he believes “DeSanctimonious” owes his political stardom to Trump, who lifted the governor to a narrow election victory in 2018 with his endorsement.
DeSantis won re-election last year in a landslide even as the GOP stumbled nationally, and he is widely seen as Trump’s most formidable primary threat.
While DeSantis hasn’t said he is running, he is releasing a memoir this year and his team is said to be exploring a campaign.
Trump has attacked DeSantis with increasingly sharp language, calling the governor disloyal and a “RINO globalist” with ties to the Republican party’s old guard.