Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday shrugged off a slew of weekend broadsides from former President Trump, who had sought to paint him as pro-lockdown during the early days of the COVID pandemic.
Trump, in a series of comments to reporters and in social media posts, claimed credit for his fellow Republican’s success, called him a “globalist” who would be “disloyal” to mount a 2024 presidential bid, and sought once again to stick DeSantis with the Trumpian moniker “Ron DeSanctimonius.” But the Sunshine State governor appeared unfazed by the attacks.
“I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles. It’s been happening for many, many years,” DeSantis said, adding that “in a crisis situation like COVID, the good thing about it is when you’re an elected executive, you have to make all kinds of decisions, you’ve got to steer that ship.”
The attack on DeSantis over his COVID policies was curious, given that DeSantis reopened Florida schools and businesses long before other big states and was an early and vocal opponent of mask and vaccine mandates.
While Trump has announced his bid for the White House, DeSantis is widely believed to be considering a primary challenge after winning re-election by nearly 20 percentage points. On Tuesday, he said his resounding victory in November affirmed support for his handling of the pandemic.
“And the good thing is, is that the people are able to render a judgment on that, whether they reelect you or not,” DeSantis said. “And I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win re-election, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida.”
“We won by the largest raw vote margin, over 1.5 million votes, than any governor candidate has ever had in Florida history. And in fact, we almost doubled the previous record, which I think was like 780,000 vote margin,” DeSantis added. “And so what I would just say is, that verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”
DESANTIS RESPONDS TO TRUMP ATTACKS: "I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles […] In my case, not only did we win re-election, we won with the highest percentage of the vote than any Republican governor candidate in the history of the state of Florida." pic.twitter.com/FLEXeVPlRn
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) January 31, 2023
A report from The Washington Post highlighted how Trump repeatedly praised DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic while he was still president, saying DeSantis did a “fantastic job,” and he specifically praised DeSantis for not closing down.
“We had surges, and they went up and they went down, and now you’re at your lowest numbers,” Trump said in October of 2020. “And you’re open and you didn’t close, and you’re just amazing — right, this guy?”
“So we’re joined today by one of the greatest governors in our country — and I know a lot of good ones, and I can tell you, there’s some really bad ones, too — but this is a great one, Gov. Ron DeSantis.”