Trump-DeSantis Rift Grows, With Dueling Rallies and Name-Calling

Kenneth Griffin

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Trump-DeSantis Rift Grows, With Dueling Rallies and Name-Calling​

Michael C. Bender, Patricia Mazzei
The Republican Party’s top two stars are campaigning, separately, in the midterms’ last days.
On Saturday in Pennsylvania, Donald J. Trump held a rally for Republicans. On Sunday in Florida, Mr. Trump and Ron DeSantis held separate campaign rallies.

Credit...Hilary Swift for The New York Times
Nov. 6, 2022, 7:44 p.m. ET
SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. — Former President Donald J. Trump hasn’t endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis this year because, as he has explained, his fellow Floridian never asked. Mr. DeSantis didn’t attend the Trump rally on Sunday in Miami, his allies said, because he wasn’t personally invited.
Bruised egos are commonplace in politics. But rarely has a rift at the top of a party spilled so fully into view at such a pivotal moment. At a rally on Saturday night in Latrobe, Pa., Mr. Trump bestowed one of his signature nicknames on Mr. DeSantis: Ron DeSanctimonious.
Their escalating tensions took center stage on Sunday, with dueling campaign rallies in Florida just two days before voting concludes in the 2022 midterm elections. Mr. Trump campaigned in South Florida with Senator Marco Rubio and other Florida Republicans, while Mr. DeSantis made his case for re-election during a set of events along the state’s west coast.
Mr. Trump didn’t repeat the taunt on Sunday, and Mr. DeSantis didn’t mention the former president at his events, but the collateral damage from their impasse looms as a distraction for their party in the final days of the midterms and could threaten deeper divisions among Republicans as they aim to recapture the White House in 2024.
“Nothing like trashing a Republican Governor 4 days before Election Day when his name is on the ballot. #team,” Josh Holmes, a Republican strategist and former campaign manager for Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Trump has been telling supporters, both publicly and privately, that he will announce another presidential bid soon. Mr. DeSantis is widely viewed as the leading alternative for the Republican nomination, speculation fueled by his raising a staggering $200 million to support his re-election bid (including about $90 million unspent) and running a nationalized campaign in which he attacks President Biden more often than his Democratic challenger, former Representative Charlie Crist.
Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis are the most popular politicians in the refashioned Republican Party: the 76-year-old former host of “The Apprentice” and the 44-year-old lawyer who has positioned himself to take over as master.
The former president has long claimed a kind of ownership stake in the rise of Mr. DeSantis, who was a relatively anonymous backbencher for six years in Congress when his underdog campaign for governor in 2018 was lifted by Mr. Trump’s endorsement.
But Mr. Trump’s generosity carries a price, and he has repeatedly expressed bewilderment that Mr. DeSantis hasn’t displayed a satisfactory amount of loyalty, according to people close to the former president.
Image
Credit...Scott McIntyre for The New York Times
Mr. Trump has been privately testing derisive nicknames for Mr. DeSantis with his friends and advisers, including the put-down he used on Saturday. Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, appeared to test-drive the nickname for the former president on Oct. 27 when he used it in a post on Mr. Trump’s social media website, Truth Social.
Mr. Trump has expressed reluctance over criticizing the Florida governor too aggressively before the midterms. But some people close to him said the decision to cast Mr. DeSantis as hypocritically pious solidified itself after the governor’s team released a video Friday aimed at infusing his candidacy with a sense of the divine.
The 96-second black-and-white video, which invokes God 10 times, was fashioned after a famous “So God Made a Farmer” speech in the 1970s by the radio broadcaster Paul Harvey.
The original speech, which Ram Trucks reused in a Super Bowl commercial in 2013, was aimed at highlighting the importance of farming. Mr. DeSantis’s version, posted by his wife, Casey, promotes his political brand.
“And on the eighth day,” a deep-voiced narrator says in Mr. DeSantis’s video, “God looked down on his planned paradise and said: ‘I need a protector.’ So God made a fighter.”
The video seemed aimed at turning Mr. DeSantis into an object of veneration, much as Mr. Trump has for some time been viewed by many Christian nationalists and other fervent supporters as an almost messianic figure.
Mr. Trump, who was in Pennsylvania on Saturday to support a slate of Republican candidates, casually dropped the new epithet into his speech while pointing out his wide lead over Mr. DeSantis in early polls of a hypothetical Republican primary field.
A branding magnate who has affixed his family name to everything from cuts of steak to lines of clothing, Mr. Trump used a pair of giant TV screens flanking the stage at his rally to display a half-dozen slides of poll numbers that underscored his political strength among Republicans.
In Florida, Mr. DeSantis has downplayed talk about a potential presidential bid, but he pointedly refused to say during a debate with Mr. Crist whether, if re-elected, he would serve all four years.
Mr. DeSantis scheduled 13 rallies across Florida between Friday and Monday, including three on Sunday, leaving some Republican candidates in the awkward position of having to choose whether to campaign with the governor or the former president. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were in Miami, as were seven members of Congress. Jimmy Patronis, the state’s elected chief financial officer, introduced Mr. DeSantis at the campaign stop in Sun City Center.
Mr. DeSantis devoted much of his hourlong speech to about 500 people at a community hall to his response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He made sure to point out that his pandemic policies separated him from Democrats — and even some Republicans.
“As a leader, I need to be more concerned about jobs for the people I represent than worrying about my own,” Mr. DeSantis said.
Image
Credit...Scott McIntyre for The New York Times
After the event, Mary Bishop, a 73-year-old retiree from Sun City Center, said she was upset that Mr. Trump had attacked Mr. DeSantis. She said she had voted twice for Mr. Trump but preferred Mr. DeSantis in 2024.
“We need someone who can bring us together and doesn’t constantly divide the races and religions,” she said. “It’s always the same playbook with Trump.”
In Miami, Mr. Trump praised at length “the wonderful” Senator Marco Rubio, calling him a friend and saying the people of Florida would re-elect him.
“You’re going to re-elect Ron DeSantis as your governor,” Mr. Trump added.
That was the only mention of his potential 2024 rival in his 90-minute, grievance-filled speech, during which Mr. Trump blasted Democrats as soft on crime and boasted about Hispanic voters shifting toward the Republican Party.
“I will probably have to do it again,” he said about seeking the presidency in 2024, “but stay tuned.”
At the Trump rally, Lainie Guthrie, 57, of Royal Palm Beach, said that Mr. DeSantis should have attended the rally with the former president. Mr. Trump, she said, should “be able to finish” what he started in his first term.
“He was doing a great job for our country, whether people like him or not,” Ms. Guthrie said. “He’s entitled to run again. That’s owed to him.”
In Pennsylvania on Saturday, Mr. Trump’s attack on Mr. DeSantis drew a mix of laughs and groans from the crowd. “Oh no!” shouted one woman.
Jess Rhoades, a 38-year-old university employee from Blair County, Pa., left her first Trump rally on Tuesday energized by the experience but conflicted over how she would choose between her two favorite Republicans.
“I don’t know what I’d do,” she said.
Michael C. Bender reported from Sun City Center, Fla., and Patricia Mazzei from Miami.
 
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gusto79

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Not liking Ron DeSanctimonious nickname. Hopefully trump isn't married to that. Needs something better. Ron Deskankus? Butt****er Ron. I'm not great at nicknames either. Maybe go hard and make up some sexual assault allegations and go with Rapist Ron.
 

dgordo

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Not liking Ron DeSanctimonious nickname. Hopefully trump isn't married to that. Needs something better. Ron Deskankus? Butt****er Ron. I'm not great at nicknames either. Maybe go hard and make up some sexual assault allegations and go with Rapist Ron.

I feel sorry for Ron’s wife. Only a matter of time before she gets called ugly and fat.
 

gusto79

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Sep 11, 2002
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Maybe Dull Ron DeSantas. I can picture Trump saying Dull Ron Desantis, similar to how he would say Sleepy Joe Biden, and then go into some kind of monotone impersonation of Dull Ron.
 
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lucas80

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Didn't she have cancer? I could see Trump somehow making fun of that.
Beat me to it. Trump will say something about how he wished she’d died of breast cancer, and the deplorables will squeal with delight. Goldy will shake her head, but then decide she just has no other choice but to vote for Trump again because Biden is such a horrible man.
 

Pinehawk

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Sep 16, 2003
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Trump should go all in and call him Ron DeRaper.
Then at his rallies say ’he’s hearing’ than DeSantis is a rapist, and that’s ‘what people are saying’.
What could Ron do? Sue him? Get in line.
 
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wausauhawk

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Not liking Ron DeSanctimonious nickname. Hopefully trump isn't married to that. Needs something better. Ron Deskankus? Butt****er Ron. I'm not great at nicknames either. Maybe go hard and make up some sexual assault allegations and go with Rapist Ron.

Oh don't worry, Trump is still in the workshopping phase. He'll trot a few different ones out, sees what sticks, gets the best reaction. Ron will eventually come around & kiss the ring.
 

Tom Paris

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Beat me to it. Trump will say something about how he wished she’d died of breast cancer, and the deplorables will squeal with delight. Goldy will shake her head, but then decide she just has no other choice but to vote for Trump again because Biden is such a horrible man.
Nailed it.
 
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ihawk in FWB

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Trump should go all in and call him Ron DeRaper.
Then at his rallies say ’he’s hearing’ than DeSantis is a rapist, and that’s ‘what people are saying’.
What could Ron do? Sue him? Get in line.
That is certainly in the realm of possibilities 🤣
 

goldmom

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Beat me to it. Trump will say something about how he wished she’d died of breast cancer, and the deplorables will squeal with delight. Goldy will shake her head, but then decide she just has no other choice but to vote for Trump again because Biden is such a horrible man.
Why bring my name into this? What lame justification do you have for doing that?
The NYT is full on desperate to begin trashing the Governor because they and the band of leftist ilk who they’re in league with want to run against Trump.
So he’s scheduled 13 rallies over the weekend? Why shouldn’t he!
HES ACTUALLY RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION.
Trump is holding rallies for what current office? He’s not but he can’t stand the spotlight not trained on him.
I will not vote for him.
This is the last damn time I’m going to say it.
 

goldmom

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Oh don't worry, Trump is still in the workshopping phase. He'll trot a few different ones out, sees what sticks, gets the best reaction. Ron will eventually come around & kiss the ring.

Ron is smarter than Trump and I think he’s also smarter than most of the lefties on here.
We shall see.
 

Slappy Pappy

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Nov 24, 2007
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Surprised Trump hasn't gone with "Groomer Ron" after DeSantis's time as a high school teacher that he conveniently leaves out of his bio. I guess getting fired after his first year for drinking and "partying" with underage students on the weekends isn't a selling point?



Gaetz, DeSantis, what is it with Florida Republicans and underage girls, anyway?
 

TC Nole OX

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Mar 29, 2002
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Trump needs to be careful with Ron. He is very popular in Florida.

Orangelini is going to send Tater Tot to the GrOuPie retirement home to be Jeb's new neighbor. He will destroy him. The only difference this time is that DeGroomer will make a lot more noise attempting to fight back. Jeb whined a little and then quickly disappeared.
 
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ihhawk

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Orangelini is going to send Tater Tot to the GrOuPie retirement home to be Jeb's new neighbor. He will destroy him. The only difference this time is that DeGroomer will make a lot more noise attempting to fight back. Jeb whined a little and then quickly disappeared.
Trump is about to consume all the oxygen in the room. If Trump declares, it would be best if Ron waits until 2028. He is young still
 

JupiterHawk

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Surprised Trump hasn't gone with "Groomer Ron" after DeSantis's time as a high school teacher that he conveniently leaves out of his bio. I guess getting fired after his first year for drinking and "partying" with underage students on the weekends isn't a selling point?





Gaetz, DeSantis, what is it with Florida Republicans and underage girls, anyway?
 

Banditking

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Apr 25, 2002
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Beat me to it. Trump will say something about how he wished she’d died of breast cancer, and the deplorables will squeal with delight. Goldy will shake her head, but then decide she just has no other choice but to vote for Trump again because Biden is such a horrible man.
Some of us are down a rather substantial amount of money during the Dems tenure and inflation is terrible. It’s close to anyone but them. But not trump. He needs to go away. I’ll have to vote third party again. At this point, I care little for what any blue team politicians have to say. Not voting for them.
 
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Banditking

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There won't be a 2028 if Mango Mussolini regains power. He will be our dictator for life. It is amazing that hasn't sunk in for you people who have so enthusiastically bought into Trumpism.
So, til 2026 or so? He’s almost 80.
 

wausauhawk

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Ron is smarter than Trump and I think he’s also smarter than most of the lefties on here.
We shall see.

I'm sure Ron is smarter than Trump. As are most R politicians. Didn't stop Trump from winning before. He's not exactly appealing to mensa members for his support.
 
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Banditking

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I'm sure Ron is smarter than Trump. As are most R politicians. Didn't stop Trump from winning before. He's not exactly appealing to mensa members for his support.
Yep. It’s not like Ted cruz didn’t know how to debate or construct an argument. Of course, unlike the Dems who rallied around biden in the primary, kasich hung on until the bitter end and torpedoed cruz.
 

Flie

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Nov 2, 2001
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Not liking Ron DeSanctimonious nickname. Hopefully trump isn't married to that. Needs something better. Ron Deskankus? Butt****er Ron. I'm not great at nicknames either. Maybe go hard and make up some sexual assault allegations and go with Rapist Ron.

I kind of like it. It fits him.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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Trump will single handedly torpedo the R chances for the Presidency in 2024. Scorched earth....

D's just need to sit back and watch. Wait till he gets the nomination to really go after him...let him eviscerate the R field....majority won't even run against him.
 

SolarHawk

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Trump will single handedly torpedo the R chances for the Presidency in 2024. Scorched earth....

D's just need to sit back and watch. Wait till he gets the nomination to really go after him...let him eviscerate the R field....majority won't even run against him.
I believe this is what will happen if dipshit does actually run again. Gonna make the MAGAt's heads explode here in Florida if Desantis fights back. This could be some great entertainment. Gonna go stock up on the popcorn now.