And hours later, Trump found himself in hot water with fellow conservatives who weren’t pleased that he’d taken aim at the increasingly popular DeSantis.
During his rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, while touting his poll numbers (from a month ago), Trump found an opening to take a swing at DeSantis, who’s quickly turned into an unofficial 2024 Republican presidential rival.
“There it is, Trump at 71. Ron DeSanctimonious at 10 percent,” Trump said. “Mike Pence at 7–oh, Mike Pence doing better than I thought.” (It’s the first time Trump’s tried out the nickname, but longtime ally Roger Stone—a fierce DeSantis critic—posted the dig about a week ago.)
The reactions to the Trump name-calling weren’t favorable in conservative circles.
“Calling it now, DeSantis is going to run, and he’s going to beat Trump badly,” Will Chamberlain, the publisher of Human Events and a right-wing lawyer, said in response to the Trump jab. “This is just weak.”
Right-wing Daily Wire pundit Matt Walsh also expressed frustration at Trump over the “dumb nickname.”
“Trump isn’t going to be able to take this one [DeSantis] down with a dumb nickname. He better have more than that up his sleeve,” he wrote. “Also, nice job launching your public attack against the most popular conservative governor in America three days before the midterms when we’re all supposed to be showing a united front.”
It didn’t end there.
RedState editor Jennifer Van Laar commented, “Enough, Trump. Stop. Move on,” while a Townhall writer asked what DeSantis has “done to earn Trump’s scorn here right before an election?” “It’s inexcusable and just shows this has always been about him,” the writer added.
“What an idiot,” Rod Dreher, an editor at the right-wing website, The American Conservative, tweeted. “DeSantis is a far more effective leader of the Right than Trump was, if, that is, you expect a leader to get a lot done, rather than just talking about it and owning the libs.”
Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) sided with DeSantis, too, writing: “Or… Ron De…SaidNoToFauci… that’s another angle.”
“Trump’s attacks on DeSantis are going to have a boomerang effect. Almost all Trump supporters are big fans of the Florida governor and agree with his policies and approach in running Florida,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha said. “This comes just 3 days before an election and reflects poorly on the former president.”
A Trump spokesperson didn’t return The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Saturday night.
The Daily Beast previously reported that Trump intends to hit DeSantis and isn’t backing down anytime soon.
“Trump’s going to end up doing to DeSantis and his wife what he did to Cruz and his wife,” a Trump adviser told The Daily Beast.
DeSantis and Trump plan to be in Florida on Sunday and hold competing rallies over 240 miles apart.
“Trump is going to try to destroy him,” an adviser said.