Donald Trump has a new nickname for potential 2024 rival Ron DeSantis. The former president christened the Florida governor “Ron DeSanctimonious” on Saturday during a stop in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, part of a pre-midterm rally blitz on behalf of Republicans.
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— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) November 6, 2022
After teasing the announcement of his candidacy for 2024 during a rally in Iowa on Thursday and lobbing the dig at DeSantis on Saturday, Trump is scheduled to appear in Miami, Florida, on Sunday for a rally on DeSantis’ home turf — an event to which the governor is notably not invited. Trump instead extended a hand to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
DeSantis and Trump have both been on the road helping deliver the closing messages for Republican candidates on the ballot in Tuesday’s midterms. Far-right gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastiano — who has Gab on his payroll and said women who have abortions should be charged for murder — is fighting to overcome disfavorable polls in the last moment of campaign season. Mastirano appeared next to Trump at Saturday’s rally, to cheers from an adoring crowd who chanted “Vote for Doug!” as he left the stage. In August, DeSantis touted his own accomplishments to a crowd in Pittsburgh with barely any mention of Mastirano or Trump.
“DeSanctimonious” might just be the perfect moniker for the Florida governor, whose campaign is now producing ads describing him as God’s eighth-day gift to mankind. We couldn’t believe it either:
I love you, Ron.
On behalf of millions of people, never stop fighting for freedom. pic.twitter.com/5wcopo041U
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) November 4, 2022
None of this kind of posturing is new. DeSantis borrowed much of his recent political playbook from the former president, something that hasn’t escaped Trump’s notice. Sources previously indicated to Rolling Stone that members of the Trump family felt that DeSantis was ”stealing” everything from hand gestures, to rhetoric, to plans to orchestrate stunts — like shipping unsuspecting migrants to wealthy liberal strongholds like Matha’s Vineyard.
The series of snubs speaks to tension between the two biggest bigwigs of GOP politics. Rolling Stone reported in June that Trump discussed the idea of announcing his 2024 candidacy in Florida specifically to stick it to DeSantis. It’s unclear whether he’ll follow through on the plan, although it was widely reported on Friday that Trump’s team is circling the week after the midterms, specifically Nov. 14, to make his third White House campaign official.
The rest of Trump’s rally speech on Saturday was largely dedicated to repeating false claims that the 2020 election was fraudulently stolen from him. In the days before Americans cast their ballot, the former president seems just as dedicated to reigniting controversy and suspicion over voting as he is to helping Republicans flip Congress. At one point, Trump cited the debunked conspiracy film 2000 Mules as proof that “illegal ballot stuffing” had been used to rob him of the presidency.
In Pennsylvania, Trump cites the conspiracy film "2000 Mules" while claiming ballot boxes were "stuffed" in the 2020 election. pic.twitter.com/Jc7oKQZKqX
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) November 5, 2022
“They put her in prison, they put her in jail,” Trump griped about Catherine Engelbrecht, an election conspiracy theorist featured prominently in 2000 Mules who was recently jailed for contempt of court. “What a disgrace. Our country is going to hell in so many different ways.”
Trump’s Sunday night rally in Florida will be the second-to-last stop on his pre-midterm tour, which will be capped off in Dayton, Ohio on Monday. Trump’s widely expected presidential announcement the following week will reportedly be followed by another series of rallies.
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