Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, openly criticized former President Donald Trump for his remarks against notable figures who have endorsed DeSantis’s presidential campaign.
In a Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham, DeSantis defended the right of individuals to express their primary preferences without facing backlash, responding to Trump’s censures of Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
Trump disapproves of Plaats, Reynolds backing DeSantis in GOP primary
Trump, still leading in the GOP nomination race, has been vocal in his disapproval of Vander Plaats and Reynolds for their support of DeSantis in the 2024 GOP primary.
DeSantis took a firm stand against this approach, stating, “I think the attacks against Bob Vander Plaats have been out of bounds, just as I think the attacks against Gov. Kim Reynolds have been out of bounds.”
Trump slams Reynolds as ‘most unpopular governor’ for backing DeSantis
Trump’s sharp rebukes included branding Reynolds as the “Nation’s most unpopular governor” following her endorsement, despite her sustained popularity in Iowa.
He labeled her “disloyal” and predicted this endorsement would terminate her political career.
Trump questions Vander Plaats’s integrity over DeSantis endorsement
Additionally, Trump targeted Vander Plaats in a Truth Social post, accusing him of being more notorious for deceiving candidates than achieving victory.
He expressed distrust in Vander Plaats, referencing a $95,000 payment from DeSantis’s campaign and associated groups to Vander Plaats’s organization, the Family Leader Foundation, and questioned the integrity of his endorsement.
“Anyone who would take $95,000 and then endorse a Candidate who is going nowhere is not what Elections are all about!” he stated.
DeSantis clarifies payments, supports Vander Plaats’s integrity
Countering these accusations, DeSantis explained that the payments were for advertisements and participation in the foundation’s programs.
He vouched for Vander Plaats’s integrity, describing him as a reputable, influential figure in Iowa and a personal friend.
‘Vander Plaats’s endorsement not for sale’ – DeSantis
“Bob Vander Plaats’s endorsement is not for sale. He’s got a great reputation,” DeSantis emphasized, dismissing the charges as baseless.
DeSantis further commented on the nature of political endorsements, arguing that a candidate’s support for someone else should not automatically provoke hostile reactions.
DeSantis calls for ‘more respectful political discourse’
He highlighted the need for a more respectful approach in political discourse, especially in the context of endorsements.
Current polls indicate Trump’s lead in Iowa, with the state’s caucuses scheduled for January 15.
Trump leads but falls short of majority; DeSantis Haley follow
According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, Trump stands at around 45 percent, lacking a clear majority.
DeSantis trails behind with 17.5 percent, closely followed by former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley at 15.3 percent.
GOP primary tensions: DeSantis’s remarks reflect 2024 election dynamics
This development in the GOP primary race underscores the tensions within the party as prominent figures navigate the complexities of endorsements and intra-party critiques.
DeSantis’s remarks not only defend his endorsers but also reflect on the broader political landscape, highlighting the challenges and dynamics of the 2024 presidential election race.