Donald Trump tried to steal the spotlight away from Ron DeSantis’ 2024 campaign announcement day by launching into an insult-packed rant about the Florida governor on his Truth Social platform.
On Wednesday morning, the former president began his day by spewing a series of attacks on the man expected to be his biggest rival for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential race.
Resorting to his nicknames of “Ron DeSanctus” and “Rob DeSanctimonious”, he repeated his usual talking points for the Florida governor and one-time close ally – saying he “desperately needs a personality transplant” and calling him a “disloyal person” and a “disciple of horrible RINO Paul Ryan”.
He also once again tried to take credit for Mr DeSantis’ successful 2018 gubernatorial bid.
“Look, Rob DeSanctimonious came to me asking for help. He was losing badly, by 31 points, to popular Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam,” he fumed.
“He was getting ready to drop out of the race – Ran a terrible campaign! Ron told me he had one last chance, my Support & Endorsement, which Putnam, and everyone else, wanted also. I gave it to Ron, and the race was over. In one day, he went from losing badly, to winning by a lot. With 3 LARGE TRUMP RALLIES, he WON THE GENERAL ELECTION in an upset. DISLOYAL!!!”
Mr Trump continued in another post: “Ron DeSanctus can’t win the General Election (or get the Nomination) because he VOTED TO OBLITERATE SOCIAL SECURITY, EVEN WANTING TO RAISE THE MINIMUM AGE TO 70 (or more!), VOTED TO BADLY WOUND MEDICARE, AND FOUGHT HARD AND VOTED FOR A 23% “TAX ON EVERYTHING” SALES TAX. He was, and is, a disciple of horrible RINO Paul Ryan, and others too many to mention. Also, he desperately needs a personality transplant and, to the best of my knowledge, they are not medically available yet. A disloyal person!”
In another post, he resorted to an all-caps rant making several dubious claims about his own record during his one term in the White House.
“I BUILT THE GREATEST ECONOMY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, NO INFLATION, ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, AND SOON DOMINANCE, THE STRONGEST BORDER EVER, RECORD BEST EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS, BIGGEST TAX & REGULATION CUTS, REBUILT OUR MILITARY, NO WARS WITH RUSSIA/UKRAINE OR CHINA/TAIWAN (OR ANYWHERE!), AND THE USA WAS RESPECTED ALL OVER THE WORLD! WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY?” he wrote, before adding: “ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!”
Mr Trump’s fury comes as Mr DeSantis is expected to officially enter the 2024 race on Wednesday in a Twitter Spaces event with Elon Musk.
The audio-only event will involve a live interview with Musk, moderated by controversial tech entrepreneur David Sacks.
Following the event, Mr DeSantis is expected to release an official launch video and make an appearance on Fox News.
On Tuesday night, the governor’s wife Casey DeSantis kicked off his campaign by posting a video of him getting ready to go on stage in front of an American flag.
“America is worth the fight… Every. Single. Time,” she tweeted.
Mr DeSantis, 44, is seen as Mr Trump’s biggest rival for the Republican vote in the 2024 race for the White House and has been teasing his bid for several months.
Long before he officially entered the race, several Republican lawmakers and right-wing media outlets began rallying behind him and all but endorsed him to lead the party.
This came after the GOP had a disappointing performance in the midterms with the so-called “red wave” failing to materialise and several Mr Trump-endorsed candidates failing in the polls.
As a result, 76-year-old Mr Trump – who entered the race in November – has gone on the attack against his rival for the past few months.
The latest polls show Mr DeSantis currently trailing Mr Trump, with a recent CBS News-YouGov poll placing the former president at a 36 point lead among Republican primary voters.