DeSantis Answers Trump's Digs

Florida governor emphasizes that he actually won re-election
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2023 2:59 PM CST
DeSantis Answers Trump's Digs
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

As President Trump ramps up his 2024 campaign, he's been taking shots at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a presumed challenger. On Tuesday, DeSantis responded in a pretty effective manner, at least in the view of multiple assessments. Asked about Trump's digs at a news conference, the governor responded:

  • "When you’re an elected executive, you have to make all kinds of decisions,” he said. “You’ve got to steer that ship. And 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 in the history of the state of Florida." He added that a "verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida," per NBC News. Watch his full response here.

  • The message: "This isn’t subtle stuff," writes Phillip Bump at the Washington Post. "That 'in my case' is particularly sharp, obviously contrasting his victory in 2022 with Trump’s loss in 2020. That Trump refuses to concede his loss will only add to the sting." DeSantis is clearly sending a message to voters: "Unlike Trump, I can win."
  • Another point: At the conservative site Hot Air, David Strom points out that DeSantis didn't even bother to mention Trump by name. "That’s a good look for any candidate, subtly indicating that the criticism is so baseless that it really doesn’t require a response."
  • Game on? The governor's remarks on Tuesday show that "he’s willing to engage and defend against a rising stream of attacks from his one-time ally who boosted him to the governor’s mansion back in 2018," writes Gary Fineout at Politico.
  • Ditto: Even before the comments by DeSantis on Tuesday, an analysis at the Hill suggested the rivalry between the two men was reaching a "boiling point." The governor appears to be making moves toward an entry into the race, with reports (like this one over the weekend at the Washington Post) saying that his advisers have begun reaching out to potential hires. The analysis by Max Greenwood of the Hill asserts that DeSantis is widely expected to launch his campaign later this year after the state's legislative session ends. "That belief has put him and Trump on an almost-inevitable collision course as they vie for dominance within the GOP."
(More Ron DeSantis stories.)

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