Having gotten some promising early returns in the polls on his extremely preemptive 2024 primary campaign of disparagement against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is not even an announced candidate for president yet, and having even provoked DeSantis into making some mild retaliatory statements during an interview with Piers Morgan on Fox’s subscription streaming service (?), Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon took his anti-DeSantis rhetoric one notch futher.
On his Truth Social site, Trump posted a savage series of claims about the current condition of the state of Florida, which, in addition to being a crucial electoral cornerstone for the Republican Party that is often held up as a model of its vision for anti-woke law-and-order free-market governance, is also where Trump lives.
Here are his remarks on DeSantis as compiled into a single (very long) statement by his campaign:
Now that Ron DeSanctimonious is finally admitting he’s in the Race by beginning to fight back, and now that his Polls have crashed so he has no other choice, let me explain the facts. He is, for a Republican, an average Governor, he got 1.2 million less Votes in Florida than me, he fought for massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare, and wanted Social Security minimum age to be raised to 70-years-old, or more. He is a disciple of Paul Ryan, and did whatever Ryan told him to do. Florida has been successful for many years, long before I put Ron there—It’s amazing what Ocean & Sunshine will do! Surprise, Ron was a big Lockdown Governor on the China Virus, sealing all beaches and everything else for an extended period of time, was Third Worst in the Nation for COVID-19 Deaths (losing 86,294 People), Third Worst for Total # of Cases, at 7,516,906. Other Republican Governors did MUCH BETTER than Ron and, because I allowed them this “freedom,” never closed their States … Remember, I left that decision up to the Governors! For COVID Death Rates Per State, Ron, as Governor of Florida, did worse than New York. In Education, Florida ranks among the worst in the Country and on crime statistics, Florida ranked Third Worst in Murder, Third Worst in Rape, and Third Worst in Aggravated Assault. For 2022, Jacksonville was ranked as one of the Top 25 Major Crime Cities in the Country, with Tampa and Orlando not doing much better. On Education, Florida ranks #39 in Health & Safety in the Country, #50 in Affordability, and #30 in Education & Childcare, HARDLY GREATNESS THERE! The fact is, Ron is an average Governor, but the best by far in the Country in one category, Public Relations, where he easily ranks Number One—But it is all a Mirage, just look at the facts and figures, they don’t lie—And we don’t want Ron as our President!
Caveat emptor on taking any of those figures seriously, as they have been furnished by Donald Trump. “Ranked as one of the Top 25 Major Crime Cities in the Country” is, however, a captivating phrase.
Now, some people—internally, at Slate, in our Slack communications system—are theorizing that Trump is attacking DeSantis because he (Trump) knows he formally entered the 2024 race too early, and that he (Trump) is trying to goad another top-tier contender into entering it as well, to avoid having to engage (and thus be associated in the public’s mind) with the various long-shot/novelty candidates who have also gotten in early.
God bless these people and their childlike belief in the possibility that Trump is thinking strategically! In our view, he is attacking DeSantis and the state of Florida because he is jealous of DeSantis and has no impulse control.
On the far-right internet, MAGA figures who’ve become fans of DeSantis because of his stand on “wokeness”—like former NYPD officer John Cardillo, below—are struggling with the experience, somewhat akin to being the defendant in a Soviet show trial, of fact-checking their movement’s leader:
On Thursday morning, between angry Truth Social messages about DeSantis and the Stormy Daniels case, Trump posted a video of actor Jon Voight playing golf. Truly a singular figure, the 45th president.