Donald Trump has escalated his feud with Ron DeSantis by posting a video of the Florida governor in which he says wants to be like former House Speaker Paul Ryan , whose now a Trump critic.
Mr Trump’s only comment on the footage, which was posted on his Truth Social page on Tuesday, was “wow!”
“I would be somebody who would be different, I think you see that I’ve been recognized nationally as being somebody who would be different, who would be a leader, who could be somebody like a Paul Ryan very quickly,” Mr DeSantis says in the footage.
Following Mr Trump’s criticism of his handling of the pandemic, Mr DeSantis responded to the former president on Tuesday by noting that he was reelected while Mr Trump wasn’t.
“I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles, it’s been happening for many, many years,” Mr DeSantis said during a press briefing in Bradenton, south of Tampa. “The good thing is, is that the people are able to render a judgment on that whether they reelect you or not. And I’m happy to say, you know in my case, not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has had in the history of the state of Florida ... That verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”
On his plane this weekend while making campaign trips to New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mr Trump argued that he got Mr DeSantis into the governor’s mansion by supporting him in 2018. Mr DeSantis previosuly served in the US House from 2013 until 2018.
“So then when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal. But it’s not about loyalty, but to me it is, it’s always about loyalty, but for a lot of people it’s not about loyalty,” he told reporters, per CNN.
Mr Ryan, who served as Speaker of the House between 2015 and 2019, said last month that Mr Trump is “fading fast”.
“He is a proven loser. He cost us the House in ’18, he cost us the White House in ’20, he cost us the Senate again and again,” he told CNN during an appearance earlier this month. “I think we are moving past Trump. I really think that’s the case. I can’t imagine him getting the nomination, frankly.”
Following the criticism from Mr Trump, GOP Senators defended Mr DeSantis and his possible 2024 campaign.
Texas Senator John Cornyn commented on a possible DeSantis campaign, telling The Hill that “he ran an impressive reelection campaign for governor from an important state. It looks to me like he’s polling well. I think we need some new blood and I think he’d probably qualify”.
The outlet noted that Mr Cornyn “barely stifled a laugh” when asked if it would be disloyal for Mr DeSantis to run.
“No, no, I don’t think so,” he said.
Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis said, according to the outlet: “I expect to see a number of Republican candidates for president and a number of them had President Trump’s endorsement so I don’t see it as an act of disloyalty to run for president, even people on the president’s cabinet may get in this race. So, it’s not a matter of disloyalty. The person who best articulates a future agenda for the country will emerge from [the] Republican primary and it’s not a foregone conclusion who that will be.”
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