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Trump shares photos of DeSantis alleging he partied and drank with high school girls when he was a teacher
By Kimberly Leonard,
Trump reshared a 20-year-old photo of DeSantis that appears to show him posing with recent high school graduates.
The original poster accused DeSantis of using alcohol for "grooming" high school girls.
Trump is ramping up his attacks against the Florida governor, who may challenge him for the 2024 GOP nomination.
Former President Donald Trump reposted a photo on Tuesday of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that accused him of drinking alcohol with minors when he was a high school teacher.
"That's not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!" Trump wrote sarcastically on his social media app, Truth Social.
The picture shows a 23-year-old DeSantis smiling between three women with blurred out faces, whose ages aren't clear. One of the females in the photos is holding a brown glass bottle but DeSantis isn't pictured drinking. Still, the caption reads, "Here is Ron DeSantimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher," followed by the vomit emoji.
The original message Trump reshared was from a user named Dong-Chan Lee, whose Truth Social describes him as a "paleoconservative" and Trump supporter.
The origin of the photo is Hill Reporter, a Democratic super PAC blog. The New York Times reported in November that the photo was taken after the 2001 to 2002 academic year that DeSantis spent as a teacher at the elite Darlington School before attending Harvard Law School.
Darlington is a boarding school located in Rome, Georgia, where DeSantis coached baseball and football and taught history and government.
Several students recalled DeSantis went to parties with the seniors, the New York Times said, citing anonymous sources. Two students recalled DeSantis attending two parties where alcohol was served, though they said it was after graduation. They reported they weren't bothered by it at the time, though they now questioned it, the report said.
"It was his first job out of Yale, he was cute. We didn't really think too much about it," one of the former students said.
Ahead of the gubernatorial election, Trump nicknamed DeSantis "DeSanctimonious," and said he thought it was "disloyal" for the governor to leave open the question of running for president given that Trump's 2018 gubernatorial endorsement helped him win the GOP nomination.
The "grooming" accusation was intended as a hypocrisy attack against DeSantis, whose staff have accused those who oppose his contentious sex education bill critics dub "Don't Say Gay" of "grooming." The term "grooming" typically refers to pedophiles who try to gain the trust of their underage victims so they'll accept sexual assault without telling an adult.
Trump famously ridiculed his opponents during the 2016 presidential election with vicious nicknames. He's now running for the 2024 GOP nomination. No one else has officially jumped into the field yet, but DeSantis consistently comes in second to Trump in polls.
On Monday, the conservative think tank Club for Growth, which has a PAC and super PAC arm, published a poll predicting DeSantis could do even better. It found the governor held a nine-point lead in a hypothetical 2024 matchup against Trump.
But it's not clear why Trump chose to lash out at DeSantis on Tuesday afternoon, and his campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about it from Insider.
Trump often shares his unfiltered thought on social media, grabbing headlines and distracting from other news. On Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden will give his State of the Union Address, and Trump plans to provide live analysis over Truth Social, he said .
Instead, Trump reposted the photo of DeSantis and tore into the governor on other unrelated matters. They included a screenshot of a Tampa Bay Times story in which DeSantis said he was "glad" violent Trump protestors had been arrested after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
He also attacked DeSantis for voting with the majority of House members against a bill to fund his border wall when he was a state congressman in 2018. The bill included amnesty provisions and drew conservative opposition.
Reached by Insider, the governor's political team declined to respond to the Trump attacks.
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