Ron DeSantis Has Things to Say About Trump

Florida governor implies Trump's character is not up to par for a leader
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2023 12:37 AM CDT
Ron DeSantis Takes Aim at Trump
This combination of the photos shows former President Donald Trump, left, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right.   (AP Photo/File)

Ron DeSantis says that if he does decide to run for president in 2024, "I'm running against Biden," keeping the focus on the current president "because I think he’s failed the country. I think the country wants a change. I think they want a fresh start and a new direction, and so we’ll be very vocal about that." And yet, during the same interview, the Florida governor "sought to strike a clear contrast with Donald Trump," according to the New York Times, "doubling down" with references to the former president's "character." Speaking with Piers Morgan Monday in an interview that will air on Morgan's Fox News show Thursday, DeSantis appeared to allude to the chaos and drama surrounding Trump and the people he tends to hire, and said his own approach is different: "The way we run the government, I think, is no daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board, and I think that’s something that’s very important."

  • Getting a little more direct: Asked if he was specifically trying to criticize Trump when he made a comment Monday about the "hush money" case that could lead to a Trump indictment, DeSantis responded, "Well, there’s a lot of speculation about what the underlying conduct is. That is purported to be it, and the reality is that’s just outside my wheelhouse."
  • Implications: While not specifically naming Trump, DeSantis made a few other comments apparently aimed at him. Morgan asked DeSantis whether he believes a leader's personal conduct matters, to which DeSantis replied, "You really want to look to people like our founding fathers, like what type of character, it’s not saying that you don’t ever make a mistake in your personal life, but I think what type of character are you bringing? ... I think the person is more about how you handle your public duties and the kind of character you bring to that endeavor." Morgan also asked DeSantis about the importance of truth. The governor's response: "Truth is essential. We have to agree that there’s a certain reality to the world we live in and if we can just create our own facts then we’re never gonna be able to agree on anything or never really be able to do policy in a way that makes sense, and so yes, it’s not your truth or my truth, it’s THE truth.”
  • Morgan's take: In his write-up about the interview, Morgan says DeSantis "has finally taken the gloves off and launched a blistering attack on his former mentor."
  • COVID disagreements: DeSantis also said he and Trump took different approaches to COVID. "I would have fired somebody like Fauci. I think he got way too big for his breeches, and I think he did a lot of damage," he said. (The Times notes Trump did not have the authority to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci.)

  • Trump's nicknames: In response to DeSantis' comments on the Stormy Daniels case, Trump busted out a favorite nickname for the governor, Ron DeSanctimonious. During the interview with Morgan, DeSantis joked, "I don’t know how to spell the sanctimonious one. I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it, it’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels. We’ll go with that, that’s fine. I mean you can call me whatever you want, just as long as you also call me a winner because that’s what we’ve been able to do in Florida, is put a lot of points on the board and really take this state to the next level." He called Trump's criticism of him "background noise," adding, "It’s not important for me to be fighting with people on social media. It’s not accomplishing anything for the people I represent. So, we really just focus on knocking out victories, day after day."
  • Trump camp's response: In response to Morgan's interview of DeSantis, a senior adviser to Trump said DeSantis "has finally shown his true colors" as "an establishment Never Trumper who despises the MAGA base and was faking it the entire time." Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that DeSantis is "exposing himself as 100% Controlled Opposition!"
    Trump himself (who also, in his response to DeSantis' comments on the hush money case, implied DeSantis might be gay or a pedophile) has apparently not weighed in yet.
(More Ron DeSantis stories.)

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