DeSantis responds to Trump attacks by pointing to his reelection
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday brushed off former President Donald Trump’s latest attacks with a simple message: check the scoreboard.
Asked during a news conference about Trump’s criticism over the weekend of his approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, DeSantis responded with a reminder that he won reelection last year by the largest margin of any Republican Florida governor in the state’s modern history.
“When you’re an elected executive, you have to make all kinds of decisions’ you 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,” DeSantis said.
“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. “We won by the largest raw vote margin – over 1.5 million votes – than any governor candidate has ever had in Florida history.”
Indeed, DeSantis defeated former Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) in November by a staggering 19-point margin. It was the largest spread in a Florida gubernatorial race in four decades.
Trump lost his reelection bid in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. He is now seeking to mount a political comeback by running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. DeSantis is not in that race but is widely seen as a potential contender.
DeSantis’s comments came days after Trump called out the Florida governor and one-time political ally during a campaign swing through New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Trump accused DeSantis of “trying to rewrite history” when it came to his early handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, arguing that Florida was “closed for a long period of time” at the outset of the pandemic.
In separate remarks to The Associated Press, Trump also took aim at DeSantis’s rumored presidential ambitions, saying that running for the White House would be a “great act of disloyalty.”
DeSantis hasn’t said much about his 2024 plans, though his advisers are said to be actively preparing for a presidential campaign. If he decides to run, an announcement wouldn’t likely come until later this year.
It wasn’t the first time that Trump took aim at DeSantis, who is seen as perhaps the biggest threat to the former president’s bid to recapture the GOP nomination in 2024. For his part, DeSantis has largely ignored Trump’s criticism and has avoided mentioning him directly.
After Trump took a jab at DeSantis late last year, he shrugged it off as nothing more than “noise.” On Tuesday, he used a similar retort.
“I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles,” he said. “It’s been happening for many, many years.”