Former President Donald Trump slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the second time this week as rumors grow that the former MAGA ally may challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump on Sunday called DeSantis “disloyal” and said the governor’s stances on both Social Security and Medicare will lead to his political downfall.
“Social Security and Medicare, and Ron’s attack on both, have destroyed DeSanctimonious. His love affair with Jeb Bush and Karl Rove, certainly haven’t helped, but being a DISCIPLE of ‘Wheelchair over the Cliff’ Paul Ryan, has been a disaster. Ron has lost his supporters and his support, and MAGA refuses to Endorse disloyal people,” Trump said on his Truth Social platform.
A Trump spokesperson echoed the former president’s claims, saying DeSantis has “long embraced plans to cut Social Security and Medicare,” plus up the eligibility age of both programs, Steven Cheung said in an email to Newsweek Sunday night.
“DeSantis is colluding with his globalist handlers to go full NeverTrump in order to gaslight the people into thinking that Medicare and Social Security should be ripped away from hard-working Americans,” Cheung continued. “President Trump has made it clear that he will always stand on the side of Americans, and protect benefits seniors worked for and paid for their entire lives.”
Meanwhile, the next few months are vital for DeSantis’ political ambitions, with polls showing the governor is the most credible threat to Trump. DeSantis, however, has not officially declared his candidacy. Newsweek reached out to DeSantis representatives for comment via email.
Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the Florida governor, who he has repeatedly taken the opportunity to criticize. Trump often attacks DeSantis on Truth Social by touting polls that point to a Trump victory or calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
Last week, Trump mocked DeSantis’ feud with Disney and criticized his response to flooding in Florida as he took another swipe at his expected Republican rival. Trump also blasted DeSantis in a March Newsmax interview, claiming the Florida lawmaker had only been elected in 2018 due to his endorsement. According to Politico, Trump’s assessment that he gave DeSantis a boost is valid, with polling taken at the time showing the endorsement helped his campaign.
Meanwhile, a political fundraising group supporting DeSantis’ potential bid on Sunday launched its first attacks on Trump, with the Never Back Down Super PAC ad stating: “Trump should fight Democrats, not lie about Governor DeSantis.”
The ad, which aired online and on Fox News, also referenced the former president’s legal troubles, saying: “Donald Trump has been attacked by a Democrat prosecutor in New York. So why is he spending millions attacking the Republican governor of Florida?”