His remarks—at a Tuesday press conference—mark the first time DeSantis, who has left the door open to running for president in 2024, has publicly responded to the personal jabs made by Trump and his allies.
“Well, you know, one of the things I’ve learned, like learn in this job is when you’re do, when you're leading, when you’re getting, getting things done, yeah, you take incoming fire,” he said. “And it’s constantly attacking and this is just what's happened. I don't think any governor got attacked more, particularly by corporate media, than me over my four-year term.”
“We focused on results and leadership. And, you know, at the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis added to applause from the crowd. “And the fact of the matter is. You know, the fact of the matter is, we, it was the the greatest Republican victory in the history of the state of Florida.”
A Trump spokesperson didn't immediately return The Daily Beast's request for comment.
When it comes to attacking DeSantis, Trump has received a wide variety of advice on how to confront the matter.
“No attacks,” a longtime Trump adviser told The Daily Beast, responding to DeSantis’ Tuesday remarks. “Same team,” echoing the advice they’d shared with the former president.
But few within Trump’s orbit believe they can keep the ex-president from reverting to classic Trump insults.
“Trump’s going to end up doing to DeSantis and his wife what he did to Cruz and his wife,” another adviser previously told The Daily Beast.
The feud between the two Republican Party bigwigs has long been simmering. But this past Thursday, Trump issued a lengthy and rambling statement ripping into DeSantis—whom Trump has nicknamed “Ron DeSanctimonious”—in no uncertain terms.
In the statement, Trump took credit for DeSantis’ rise in the GOP ranks and took issue with DeSantis “playing games” when he’s been asked about potentially running for the White House in 2024.
“Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer,” Trump said, poking fun at DeSantis not addressing the 2024 question when asked by reporters.
Late on Monday night, Trump—on his social-media platform Truth Social—facetiously thanked DeSantis for praising him during his recent re-election campaign. “Thanks, Ron!” he said while re-upping an old DeSantis campaign ad.
As The Daily Beast reported, the former president intends to announce his 2024 presidential bid on Tuesday evening at his Mar-a-Lago club.
“I’m sure there will be challengers,” a Trump adviser told The Daily Beast. “But they better show up ready for war, because nothing is off the table.”