The former president of the United States, Donald Trump, attacked Ron DeSantis on Saturday, saying the Florida governor and his administration are “trying to rewrite history” regarding their reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak, and he dubbed his GOP rival’s future presidential bid as “extremely disloyal.”
During a press conference on his plane, Trump stated that some Republican governors had not declared their states closed. “Florida was shut down for a very long time.”
He continued, “They’re trying to alter history.” CNN has contacted DeSantis for comment. The Florida governor banned bars and nightclubs in March 2020.
He urged people to adhere to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to keep group gatherings on beaches to a maximum of 10 persons.
Due to the Covid-19 increase that fall, DeSantis issued an order in September allowing restaurants and bars to completely open. This move garnered condemnation from public health professionals.
Trump defended his handling of the pandemic, claiming that he deferred to the governors’ judgment. He states, “I had governors that opted not to close a thing, and it was up to them.” The former president claimed that DeSantis has “changed his tune a lot” about vaccines about his shifting position.
This assertion follows a request from DeSantis to state legislators earlier this month to make the current sanctions against businesses that mandate Covid-19 vaccination for all employees permanent.
Every action DeSantis takes is accompanied by tension with Trump. Their friendship began during the governor’s 2018 primary campaign when the unknown congressman won the nomination thanks to Trump’s support. DeSantis’ support for Trump was underscored in a famous advertisement that featured him and his family, including two young children.
But as speculation about 2024 increased, Trump re-avowed his candidacy, and DeSantis won re-election in a landslide by 19 points in November, the two became more and more at odds.
Trump criticized DeSantis before and after the midterm elections, calling him an “average governor” and jokingly nicknaming him “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
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On Saturday, during his first significant campaign swing to South Carolina and New Hampshire, Trump once more claimed responsibility for supporting DeSantis’ ascent during his 2018 run for governor, asserting that “Ron would not be governor if it weren’t for me.”
“So when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal,” Trump said.
While aiming DeSantis, Trump told reporters aboard his plane that Nikki Haley – who served as his ambassador to the United Nations – called him recently to inform him that she is considering launching a 2024 presidential bid.
“I talked to her for a little while. I said, ‘Look, you know, go by your heart if you want to run,’” Trump said. “She’s publicly said I would never run against my president. He was a great president.’”
Trump said he told Haley that she “should do it.”
Haley, who just moved her top advisers to Charleston, is reportedly debating when to launch her campaign because she doesn’t want to be the first person to go on Trump by themselves. She declared in 2021 that she would not oppose Trump if he campaigned for president again in 2024.
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