“‘Yeah maybe, this guy was dead. He was dead as a doornail.’”
That line above came Monday from former President Donald Trump, when he was asked if he regretted endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race.
Trump has lashed out at DeSantis before, suggesting back in November, for example, that the governor was disloyal and owed his political career to him.
But the former president’s attacks on Monday rank as “the sharpest yet,” according to a Politico report. Trump went after DeSantis repeatedly while with a group of reporters, blasting the governor’s debate skills and likening him to establishment Republicans.
Trump has ramped up his criticisms of DeSantis, who has emerged as perhaps his most formidable competitor in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, a Hill report said. The governor has mostly not said much about Trump’s barbs, though he recently said he prefers not to spend his time “trying to smear other Republicans.”
DeSantis is expected to seek the GOP presidential nomination but has not yet made a formal announcement, while Trump announced his candidacy last year.
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The Florida governor has a 41% chance of winning his party’s nomination, while Trump’s odds are at 40%, according to betting market PredictIt. But the former president has a sizeable advantage in polls focused on the 2024 GOP race, with a RealClearPolitics average of surveys giving Trump a 14-point edge.
Trump also went after former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, claiming that the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol could have been avoided if Pence had worked toward overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“Had he sent the votes back to the legislatures, they wouldn’t have had a problem with Jan. 6, so in many ways you can blame him for Jan. 6,” Trump said, according to a Washington Post report.
Pence is also expected to run for president but hasn’t made a formal announcement.
President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has not yet announced a formal re-election campaign, but the Democrat is expected to do so as soon as this month or next.