Next week, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) prepares to launch his presidential campaign, former U.S. President Barack Obama has once again slandered him on the social media platform Truth Social.
After months of speculation, DeSantis is expected to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission the following week before meeting with GOP donors in Miami. A more official launch is expected in the governor’s birthplace of Dunedin, Florida, after Memorial Day, setting the stage for an inevitable confrontation with the former president.
Trump, however, made it abundantly clear on Friday that DeSantis’ candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination does not concern him. “After campaigning for five months, and going nowhere but down, it looks like Ron DeSanctimonious will soon be entering the race. He has ZERO chance, and MAGA will never forget!” Trump posted on Truth Social.
DeSantis and Trump engaged in a vicious proxy conflict as the governor prepared to run for president. Both men have traveled to early-voting states in order to meet with GOP primary voters who could give them the lift they need to annihilate their opponent’s campaign in the upcoming election. In the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, super PACs supporting one candidate and denigrating the other have already been established with multimillion-dollar advertising budgets.
Trump seems to be intensifying his criticism of the governor as DeSantis prepares to declare his candidacy.
Trump criticized DeSantis in a video he posted on Friday morning for requiring his support in his initial 2018 bid for governor. “Ron DeSantis was struggling big time in his primary race for governor of Florida. Polls revealed DeSantis was failing so bad. He was losing by a staggering 17 points. Then DeSantis was saved by the endorsement of President Trump,” a voice-over said during the video before a clip showed DeSantis thanking Trump for the support.
“Unfortunately, instead of being grateful, DeSantis is now attacking the very man who saved his career. Isn’t it time DeSantis remembers how he got to where he is?” the voice-over continues.
During a phone call with GOP donors, DeSantis said he was the only Republican who could defeat President Joe Biden in 2024 and seize back control of the White House, according to the New York Times. According to reports, DeSantis remarked, “You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing. Biden, Trump, and me. And I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president — Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him.”
However, after being assailed by Trump and his supporters, DeSantis’ poll numbers have declined. According to polling, Trump is the uncontested frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024, with a double-digit lead over every competitor, including DeSantis. In the Republican field, Trump leads DeSantis by 36 percentage points, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.
It is unclear whether DeSantis’ poll numbers will increase after he declares his candidacy for president.