Donald Trump lashed out online at Ron DeSantis on Tuesday. It comes after reports the Florida governor will formally announce his 2024 White House bid on Wednesday evening, during a Twitter Space conversation with business tycoon Elon Musk.
The former president shared five articles and posts either criticizing DeSantis’s record, or playing down his chances of victory in the Republican primary.
Surveys show that DeSantis is GOP voters’ second most favored potential presidential candidate, after Trump, though his polling has slumped significantly over the past few months. Whoever wins the Republican primary is likely to face Joe Biden in November 2024, with polling giving the president a commanding lead over all other declared Democratic candidates.
The claim that DeSantis will announce his presidential bid on Wednesday was first reported by NBC News, quoting “three sources familiar with the plans.” The network also said DeSantis will publish a launch video, then visit a number of key primary states in the coming days.
In November 2022, Musk said he wanted someone “sensible and centrist” to win the 2024 presidential election, before answering “yes” when asked if he would back DeSantis.
Trump has yet to comment directly on the reports that DeSantis is on the verge of announcing a presidential run. However, he shared a YouTube poll, conducted by “Black conservative” commentator Brandon Tatum. It found 73 percent of respondents want Trump to be the “Republican nominee in 2024,” versus 20 percent for DeSantis. YouTube user surveys are typically open to anyone who wants to vote. There is no indication the electorate was weighed proportionally to reflect the U.S. population, as is the norm with reputable polls.
Trump went on to share an article posted on conservative website The Gateway Pundit. This urged DeSantis to “stand down for the good of the GOP” and called Republican frontrunner Trump a “gift from God.”
The former president also posted two articles from news website Mediaite, quoting Fox News hosts and panellists playing down DeSantis’s presidential prospects. This included a piece based around comments from Fox News host Bret Baier, who said Trump “overwhelms” DeSantis at the polls.
Finally, the former president shared a piece published by American Thinker, another right-wing website, which described Trump as “the greatest at the hardest job in the world.” However, the author wrote that they also admired DeSantis.
Newsweek has contacted Donald Trump, via the press request form on his official website, asking for comments on DeSantis’s anticipated announcement.
Trump has been fiercely critical of DeSantis since the Florida governor first emerged as a credible Republican rival. In March, he described DeSantis as “an average governor,” adding: “Florida has been successful for many years, long before I put Ron there [in the governor’s office].”
DeSantis has largely avoided hitting back, though he did appear to take a dig at the former president in March over his alleged affair with former pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, which Trump denies took place. Asked about Trump’s then-impending indictment he said: “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair.”