DeSantis silent after Trump launches first attacks amid 2024 speculation

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not publicly spoken out about former President Donald Trump’s various attacks against him as the 2024 presidential election cycle heats up.

Trump slammed DeSantis as “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations” in a post on his social media site Truth Social on Thursday. The former president again used the name “Ron DeSanctimonious” in the post, a nickname he first used at a rally in Pennsylvania last weekend.

“And now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games! The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, “I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future.” Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer,” Trump said in the Truth Social thread, after saying DeSantis came to him in 2017 in “desperate shape” ahead of his first gubernatorial election and Trump “fixed his campaign.”

Despite the repeated jabs, DeSantis has not commented on the remarks. Fox News Digital reached out to DeSantis’ press office Sunday morning but did not receive an immediate reply.

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PALM BEACH, FL-NOVEMBER 8: Former President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during an election night party at Mar-a-Lago, Tuesday, November 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Phelan M. Ebenhack for The Washington Post via Getty Images) Governor Ron DeSantis, running for re-election as the Governor of Florida in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, pauses as he speaks on stage at the Turning Point USA’s (TPUSA) Student Action Summit (SAS) in Tampa, Florida, U.S., July 22, 2022. REUTERS/Marco
(Getty/Reuters)

DeSantis is seen as a top possible contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, especially after his sweeping gubernatorial election on Tuesday.

While Trump has touted a “very big” announcement coming this Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago, which is speculated to be a third presidential run.

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VANDALIA, OHIO – NOVEMBER 07: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio. Trump campaigned at the rally for Ohio Republican candidates including Republican candidate for U.S. Senate JD Vance, who is running in a tight race against Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).
((Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images))

DeSantis’ former communications director for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign praised the governor for not acknowledging Trump’s recent attacks.

“I think that Ron is very clearly living rent free in the former president’s head,” Stephen Lawson told Politico last week. “Ron has not said a single word and they think smartly that Tuesday’s huge win allows him to just keep talking about his record without having to acknowledge Trump.”

“It’s 1,000 percent the correct move,” Lawson added. “Trump just keeps throwing boomerangs.”

While Trump ally Roger Stone told Politico that DeSantis challenging the former president in 2024 would be “a treacherous act of disloyalty.”

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“Sadly, everything President Trump says is true. Ron DeSantis owes his governorship to Donald Trump and challenging him in 2024 would be a treacherous act of disloyalty,” said Roger Stone, a long-time Trump adviser.

Some conservatives have slammed the attacks on DeSantis, including radio show and Fox News host Mark Levin.

“I am not going to abide attacks on Ron DeSantis, personal attacks on this guy — by anybody,” Levin said on his Wednesday radio show, though did not name Trump specifically. “He’s not just a rising star, he is a star. This is a man who is capable of doing great things for this country, whatever he decides to do or however he decides to do it.”

“DeSantis is an extremely effective conservative governor who has had real policy wins and real cultural wins. Trump isn’t going to be able to take this one down with a dumb nickname. He better have more than that up his sleeve,” Matt Walsh, a commentator at The Daily Wire, wrote after Trump first used the name “Ron DeSanctimonious.”

Hoover Institute senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson wrote in an opinion piece last week: “Democratic opposition to a flawed and impaired Biden running again in 2024 will recede. Republican loyalty to the unpredictable Trump could fade. And both those realities will empower DeSantis.”

Despite his criticisms, Trump confirmed on Tuesday that he voted for DeSantis.

Ron DeSantis cruised to re-election on November 8.
(Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Reports circulated earlier this year about possible growing tension between DeSantis and the former president. DeSantis, however, quashed reports about such tensions at the time, calling Trump a “friend of mine.”

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“He wants to see Republicans doing well,” DeSantis told Fox News in February. “And I think when media is trying to act like he’s upset at me for doing well, I think that’s total bunk. I think they’re just making it up.”