Donald Trump has fired shots at Ron DeSantis, the man widely viewed to be his biggest competitor within the Republican Party.
The name DeSantis is on everyone’s lips after he stormed to victory in the Florida gubernatorial race this week, clinching a near-20 point (59 to 40) lead over his Democrat rival, Charlie Crist. Just a week before, Joe Biden had actually referred to DeSantis as “Donald Trump re-incarnate” while endorsing Crist.
Republicans told Express.co.uk DeSantis has been impressive in turning a formerly “purple swing state into a red Republican safe state”, while dealing with crises in the form of deadly hurricanes. All the while, he has heralded a goal of low taxation and economic growth.
But in a lengthy statement on Thursday night, Trump blasted: “Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said that if I would Endorse [sic] him, he could win.”
He also claimed to have “fixed” DeSantis’ campaign, which he said, “had completely fallen apart”.
Trump went on to complain that DeSantis, whom he has nicknamed “Ron DeSanctimonious”, was “playing games” by refusing to rule out a presidential bid, adding: “Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”
He also described DeSantis as “average”.
Earlier the same day, in a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump said: “Now that the Election in Florida is over, and everything went quite well, shouldn’t it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 Million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 Million to 4.6 Million?
Trump’s main address, the Mar-a-Lago estate, is based in Palm Beach, Florida, which is worth an estimated $160million.
Earlier in the week, he said DeSantis, 44, should stay away from a race to be the Republican presidential nominee.
READ MORE: Republicans in UK toasted Trump’s fall explains DAVID MADDOX
Trump told Fox News: “I don’t know if he is running.
“I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly.
“I don’t think it would be good for the party.”
On Thursday, Express.co.uk political editor David Maddox visited a Republicans Overseas UK evening in Westminster.
There, GOP members were jubilant at Trump’s struggles, describing it as “win, win, win” and the start of a new era for the party.
They also praised DeSantis, describing him as “a bridge between the establishment and MAGA” and therefore their “unity candidate”.
Trump, 76, had been expected to announce a new bid for the White House.
But Trump’s allies, including senior campaign strategist Jason Miller, believe he should delay this until after a runoff in Georgia to decide its next Senator.
Republican candidate Herschel Walker, a former NFL star endorsed by Trump, is facing off against incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock.
In a tight race, neither candidate was able to reach the 50 percent threshold required in Georgia to be elected as Senator.
Democrats are currently in the lead, with Warnock on 49.4 percent to Mr Walker’s 48.5 percent.
The pair go head to head after the “red wave” expected to sweep Congress failed to materialise.
While votes are still being counted, latest results show the GOP is on track to gain a majority in the House, with 207 seats to the Democrats’ 184.
But their grip on the Senate is slipping after they lost one seat to the Democrats in Pennsylvania.
The Republicans currently hold 48 seats while the Democrats hold 46.
Two Independent Senators caucus with the Democrats so in reality the Senate sits at a 48 – 48 split.