Trump brands 2024 ‘rival’ DeSantis as ‘very disloyal’

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Donald Trump has branded Ron DeSantis ‘very disloyal’ for reportedly considering a run for the White House.

As Trump kicked off his 2024 bid with stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina, he once again took credit for helping DeSantis in his bid for Florida governor in 2018.

‘Ron would have not been governor if it wasn’t for me,’ Trump told reporters aboard his plane on Saturday. ‘So then when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal.’

The former president also slammed DeSantis for closing Florida for a ‘long period of time’ during the COVID-19 pandemic when other Republican states did not, claiming the governor and his team are ‘trying to rewrite history.’

Trump’s stops in the early-voting states this weekend marked the first campaign appearances since announcing his latest run more than two months ago. 

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Trump brands 2024 ‘rival’ DeSantis as ‘very disloyal’

As former President Donald kicked off his 2024 White House bid on Saturday, he took a jab at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, calling the potential presidential run by his rival ‘very disloyal’

The former president also slammed DeSantis for closing Florida for a 'long period of time' during the COVID-19 pandemic when other Republican states did not

The former president also slammed DeSantis for closing Florida for a ‘long period of time’ during the COVID-19 pandemic when other Republican states did not

After his South Carolina speech, Trump said it would be ‘a great act of disloyalty’ if DeSantis opposed him in the primary and took credit for the governor’s initial election.

‘If he runs, that’s fine. I’m way up in the polls,’ Trump said. ‘He’s going to have to do what he wants to do, but he may run.

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‘I do think it would be a great act of disloyalty because, you know, I got him in. He had no chance. His political life was over.’

Trump initially endorsed DeSantis in the governor’s 2018 primary campaign, but said on Saturday that he hasn’t spoken to him in a long time.

He has since called DeSantis an ‘average governor’ and ‘Ron DeSanctimonious.’ On Saturday, Trump slammed the Florida governor’s COVID response.

‘There are Republican governors that did not close their states,’ Trump told reporters. ‘Florida was closed for a long period of time. They’re trying to rewrite history,’ he added.

‘I had governors that decided not to close a thing and that was up to them,’ he said, defending his choice to leave it up to the governors of each state.

Trump also criticized DeSantis’ shifting posture on vaccines, saying the Florida governor had ‘changed his tune a lot.’

While Trump remains the only declared 2024 presidential candidate, potential challengers, including former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, are expected to get their campaigns underway in the coming months. 

Trump, who initially endorsed DeSantis in the governor's 2018 primary campaign, said that it would be 'a great act of disloyalty' if he opposed him in the primary

Trump, who initially endorsed DeSantis in the governor’s 2018 primary campaign, said that it would be ‘a great act of disloyalty’ if he opposed him in the primary

Trump's stops in the early-voting states this weekend marked the first campaign appearances since announcing his latest run. Pictured: Trump announced on November 15 his third consecutive bid for the White House

Trump’s stops in the early-voting states this weekend marked the first campaign appearances since announcing his latest run. Pictured: Trump announced on November 15 his third consecutive bid for the White House

Trump told reporters on Saturday that Nikki Haley recently called him to let him know that she was considering launching a 2024 presidential bid.

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‘I talked to her for a little while, I said, ‘Look, you know, go by your heart if you want to run,’ Trump said. ‘She’s publicly said that ‘I would never run against my president, he was a great president.’

Trump said he told Haley that she ‘should do it.’

In New Hampshire, Trump promoted his campaign agenda, including immigration and crime, and said his policies would be the opposite of President Joe Biden’s. 

He cited the Democrats’ move to change the election calendar, costing New Hampshire its leadoff primary spot, and accused Biden, a fifth-place finisher in New Hampshire in 2020, of ‘disgracefully trashing this beloved political tradition.’

‘I hope you’re going to remember that during the general election,’ Trump told party members. Trump himself twice won the primary, but lost the state each time to Democrats.

Later in South Carolina, Trump said he planned to keep the state’s presidential primary as the ‘first in the South’ and called it ‘a very important state.’

Trump told reporters on Saturday that Nikki Haley recently called him to let him know that she was considering launching a 2024 presidential bid

Trump told reporters on Saturday that Nikki Haley recently called him to let him know that she was considering launching a 2024 presidential bid

In his speech, he hurtled from criticism of Biden and Democrats to disparaging comments about transgender people, mockery of people promoting the use of electric stoves and electric cars, and reminiscing about efforts while serving as president to increase oil production, strike trade deals and crack down on migration at the U.S-Mexico border.

Trump’s campaign, in its early stages, has already drawn controversy, most particularly when he had dinner with Holocaust-denying white nationalist Nick Fuentes and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who had made a series of antisemitic comments. Trump also was widely mocked for selling a series of digital trading cards that pictured him as a superhero, a cowboy and an astronaut, among others.

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He is the subject of a series of criminal investigations, including one into the discovery of hundreds of documents with classified markings at his Florida club and whether he obstructed justice by refusing to return them, as well as state and federal examinations of his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden.

Still, early polling shows he’s a favorite to win his party’s nomination.

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