Former President Donald Trump urged his Florida supporters to reelect Gov. Ron DeSantis Sunday, a day after he mocked the potential 2024 rival as “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
Speaking at a Miami get-out-the-vote rally for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running against Democrat Rep. Val Demmings, Trump held his fire against the popular DeSantis, who is heavily favored to win a second term Tuesday.
“You’re going to reelect the wonderful, the great friend of mine, Marco Rubio to the United States Senate and you are going to reelect Ron DeSantis as your governor,” Trump told the crowd.
A day earlier, the 45th president took a different tone toward DeSantis at a rally for Pennsylvania Republican candidates outside Pittsburgh.
During his remarks, Trump began reading the names of hopefuls who might challenge him for the Republican nomination in two years.
“We’re winning big, big, big in the Republican Party for the nomination like nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump said.
“There it is, Trump at 71 [%]. Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%. Mike Pence at 7 — oh, Mike Pence doing better than I thought,” Trump noted at the rally for Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
DeSantis, who has a double-digit lead in polls over Democrat Charlie Crist, was not at Trump’s Miami rally, opting to hold three campaign events elsewhere in the Sunshine State.
Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, defended DeSantis in a Twitter posting shortly after the former president coined the nickname.
“Not tired of winning. @GovRonDeSantis you’ve proven conservative policies work. Florida is better for it. Vote for @GovRonDeSantis,” Pompeo said Saturday night.
Trump, The Post reported last week, is expected to announce his bid for the White House later this month, after the midterms, in which Republicans have a strong chance to regain control of Congress.
DeSantis has raised his national profile and expanded his base among conservatives after bucking the Biden administration’s COVID-19 regulations and making headlines as an opponent to teaching critical race theory.
He also engaged in a highly public dispute with the Walt Disney Co. over his signing of the so-called “don’t say gay” law in Florida’s schools.