Gov. Ron DeSantis faced questions Tuesday about political jabs thrown his way by former President Donald Trump in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections, as both Republicans may make a bid for the White House in 2024.
In his response, DeSantis did not call out the former president by name but still pushed back on the barbs.
“One of the things I’ve learned in this job is when you’re doing, when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire. That’s just the nature of it,” the governor said. " We focused on results and leadership and, you know, at the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
DeSantis then gave a rundown of the GOP victories across the state, including super majorities in the Florida legislature and 20 U.S. House seats.
“There were some success stories across the country — I mean, I think Georgia governor, I think Ohio, I think, Texas — but there were a lot of disappointments. I mean, that’s just the reality. It was a hugely underwhelming disappointing performance, especially given that Biden’s policies are overwhelmingly unpopular.”
Many pundits have pointed to the far-right candidates who received Trump’s endorsements as the cause of the GOP’s lackluster performance in what would historically be a strong environment for the party that is out of power in government.
The former president has bucked such criticism, placing blame with Republican congressional leadership, and gone on the offensive. Part of that attack has been focused on DeSantis, as many believe the governor is planning to make a White House run in 2024. Trump himself is expected to announce his presidential campaign on Tuesday night.
Trump has taken credit for DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial win and nicknamed the governor “Ron De-Sanctimonious.”
In a lengthy screed on his Truth Social platform, Trump called DeSantis an “average REPUBLICAN governor with great Public Relations.”
Trump’s expected third run for the White House comes as faces a series of intensifying criminal investigations, including a Justice Department probe into the hundreds of documents with classified markings that were discovered in boxes and drawers at his Mar-a-Lago club. He also faces probes from prosecutors in Georgia and New York.
At the same time, there are members of the Republican party who are already lining up behind DeSantis, such as Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.
For his part, DeSantis believes that Florida should be the “blueprint” for Republican campaigns moving forward.
“We were bold throughout this whole four years,” he said. “I didn’t try to put my finger in the wind. I wasn’t trying to contort myself into being something that I’m not. Everyone knew where I stood. Everyone knew what we were doing and we did it. But I think what it shows is that if people see that you’re leading, and they see that you mean what you say and say what you mean and that you’re willing to and you’re able to deliver results, (then) we get people to vote for us who may not be in our party.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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