On Monday (March 13), former President Donald Trump gave a glimpse at what could become the nastiest GOP primary fight when he lashed out at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), seen as his most likely rival.
Seven years after the 2016 Presidential campaign, when Trump used phrases like “low-energy” to describe Jeb Bush or “lyin'” to describe Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Trump told reporters on his plane to Iowa that he regretted endorsing DeSantis for his 2018 Governor bid.
Later that evening, Trump used his speech in Davenport, Iowa, to take several potshots at DeSantis, claiming the Florida Governor wanted to “decimate” Social Security and compared him to Republican Senator Mitt Romney (Utah), the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee.
Although Monday wasn’t the first time Trump made such remarks about DeSantis, the statements suggested he was intensifying his attacks and raised questions about whether this primary season would be one of the most aggressive in U.S. political history.
Trump’s remarks could set off a firestorm among Republican Presidential candidates who have typically been avoiding confrontation.
According to a Republican strategist who was DeSantis’s communications director for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, Stephen Lawson, Trump’s attacks also point to the former President appearing desperation.
Speaking to The Hill, Lawson noted that despite DeSantis not announcing a Presidential campaign yet, “Trump already looks desperate,” describing the former President’s desperation as a “stinky Cologne” which voters would “be able to smell… pretty quickly.”
DeSantis has barely responded to Trump’s comments.
When DeSantis was asked by Fox News’ whether he was “worried” that Trump’s remarks would define him, Trump laughed at the joke.
The Florida Governor responded, “When you have a record of achievement, people can call you a name, but that’s not going to trump the achievement.”