Matt Bush, FISM News
Donald Trump wants to be president again, and in classic Trump style, he will do whatever it takes to make that desire a reality, even if it means going after fellow republicans in the process.
“For those of you that didn’t notice, Florida was doing great long before Ron DeSanctus got there,” Trump said in a recent campaign video attacking DeSantis. “People are fleeing from New York to Florida and other places because of high taxes and out-of-control crime. It’s really bad. Not because of the governor, thank you Mr. President for doing that.”
President Trump: "For those of you that didn't notice, Florida was doing great long before Ron DeSanctus got there!" pic.twitter.com/ugpmOVq8f5
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 13, 2023
During the short video, not only does Trump attack DeSantis, but he also praises former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D), the man who lost by more than 19 points to DeSantis in the 2022 election. Trump has faced some criticism for praising Crist, but many believe it shows he is not sure how to handle his “most serious challenger” for the Republican nomination.
Trump, in response to a question about DeSantis being his most serious challenger, said, “I would say probably so, but you never know what happens. It could change. I think we’re not going to have much of a challenge.”
DESANTIS STILL UNDECLARED, OFFICIALLY
DeSantis has stayed quiet and has refused to fight back against Trump’s attacks. In fact, he has not even announced his decision to run for president.
DeSantis was officially in Iowa to promote his new book “The Courage to Be Free,” but many believe the trip was more than just a book promotion tour. Since 1972, the Iowa caucus has been the first electoral test in the primary and many believe it is one of the most important.
DeSantis did not randomly choose Des Moines and Davenport as the best cities to kick off a book tour, and Trump did not just randomly follow DeSantis to Iowa. The two were in full campaign mode, and the differences between the two potential Republican presidential nominees were on full display.
Trump was confident, loud, abrasive, and in full attack mode throughout his time in Iowa. He went after President Joe Biden, Mike Pence, and others, but the person who was in the center of his crosshairs was Gov. DeSantis.
According to Politico, Trump “called the governor a flip-flopper, ridiculed his debate skills, and likened him to establishment-aligned Republicans like Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Paul Ryan.” While speaking to reporters he said he regretted endorsing DeSantis and said he was a “dead politician” before Trump saved him.
In perhaps his most critical statement, Trump said, “Remember this: If it weren’t for me, Ron DeSanctimonious would right now be working probably at a law firm, or maybe a Pizza Hut, I don’t know.”
DeSantis, on the other hand, has remained quiet in regard to Trump, refusing to attack and instead promoting his book and his accomplishments in Florida. Slate Magazine calls “The Courage to Be Free” a campaign book that “positions him as the safe, boring alternative to Trump,” and that might just be what many GOP voters are looking for.
According to the AP, Trump remains popular with Iowa voters, but there are slight movements in the polls that might favor DeSantis as well. In September 2021, 91% of Iowa Republicans had a favorable rating of Trump, that number has slipped to 80% while 18% have unfavorable views of the former president.
That same poll shows DeSantis with a 74% favorable rating, but only 6% have an unfavorable view of the Florida Governor. GOP activist David Oman summed up the upcoming Iowa caucus when he said, “I believe there is not an overwhelming favorite this time.”