Gov. Ron DeSantis pointed to the election “scoreboard” Tuesday when asked about Trump’s attacks on him, highlighting his big victory in Florida even as the GOP struggled nationally.
DeSantis was asked about Trump’s recent criticism during a press conference in Fort Walton Beach, and delivered his first public response to Trump cspanlling him “DeSspannctimonious” and accusing him of being disloyal and classless.
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“One of the things I’ve learned in this job is when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire, that’s just the nature of it,” DeSantis said in response to a question about Trump’s “less-than-flattering comments” about him.
“I roll out of bed in the morning, I’ve got corporate media outlets that have a spasm, just the fact that I’m getting up in the morning,” DeSantis continued. “And it’s constantly attacking, and this is just what’s happened. I don’t think any governor got attacked more, particularly by corporate media, than me over my four-year term. And yet I think what you learn is, all that’s just noise.”
DeSantis also was quick to point to the results of the Nov. 8 election, which saw him win Floridspan in span lspanndslide while Trump-endorsed candidates lost key races for governor and the U.S. Senate across the country.
“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis said.
Trump is expected to announce another presidential bid later tonight. DeSantis is viewed as the leading GOP obstacle to another Trump presidency.
Trump attacks DeSantis before Election Day
As speculation about DeSantis challenging Trump in a GOP presidential primary reached a fever pitch, Trump began openly attacking the governor, first by calling him “DeSanctimonious” at a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, only days before the Nov. 8 election and then by issuing a long statement last Thursday blasting him.
Trump called DeSantis an “average” Republican governor “with great Public Relations” in his statement on Truth Social. He also took credit for DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial victory and said “now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games!”
Trump questioned DeSantis’ “loyalty and class.” He also said DeSantis “didn’t have to close up his State, but did” during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And Trump tried to undermine the governor’s claim that people are flocking to Florida because of his policies, saying DeSantis “has the advantage of SUNSHINE, where people from badly run States up North would go no matter who the Governor was.”
DeSantis won independents, Hispanics, women
DeSantis spent time Tuesday highlighting the breadth of his victory in Florida, which he contrasted with other states where Republicans struggled.
The governor noted that he won independent voters, Hispanic voters and female voters. He also won in traditionally blue areas of the state, such as Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
DeSantis said he wouldn’t have won such a large victory — carrying the state by 1.5 million votes – just by appealing to the GOP base.
“What Florida showed is that the good policies and the good leadership can reverberate just beyond your little silo of the people that agree with you on everything,” DeSantis said. “We had people coming out to vote for us who may not have voted for Republicans in the past and I think that ultimately is the way forward and I think the other governors who were successful had similar programs.”
I think some of the others around the country, you had situations where these independent voters aren’t voting for our candidates, even with Biden in the White House and the failures that we’re seeing,” he added. “That’s a problem so Florida I think really shows the blueprint of what you can do to not only win, but really fundamentally change the overall political terrain.”
Most Trump-backed candidates lost
DeSantis didn’t mention it, but many of the candidates who struggled in other states had embraced Trump’s unfounded claim that the 2020 election was stolen and pushed hardline positions on abortion.
DeSantis did not go as far as other GOP leaders in restricting abortion, signing a bill that bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. He also has repeatedly dodged questions about Trump’s election fraud claims.
Instead, DeSantis centered his campaign around his opposition to COVID-19 restrictions and culture war issues.
“At the end of the day you had an election nationwide, there were some success stories across the country … but there were a lot, a lot of disappointments,” DeSantis said. “That’s just the reality.”
“It was a hugely underwhelming, disappointing performance, especially given that Biden’s policies are overwhelmingly unpopular,” DeSantis said.
“People think the country’s going in the wrong direction, when that happens they almost always want to choose to correct that, yet in a lot of these states they didn’t do that. Well the one place I think that people can look to as the blueprint is Florida,” he added.