The decade's most triggering comedy
Over the weekend, former president Donald Trump called his closest challenger, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, a “son-of-a-bitch.”
The former president swiping at DeSantis is nothing new, as Trump has used plenty of derisive nicknames for the governor during the present campaign, including “Meatball Ron,” “Ron DeEstablishment,” “Shutdown Ron,” “Ron DisHonest,” “DeSoros,” and “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
The new insult came during an event this weekend in which Trump spoke of the aid he felt he had given DeSantis in his initial gubernatorial race in 2018, in which DeSantis won a narrow victory over Democrat Andrew Gillum. The prior two races for governor in Florida (2014, 2018) had been decided by a tiny 1-point margin; in 2022, however, DeSantis won by a whopping 19 points in his reelection.
“He ended up winning,” Trump said of the 2018 election. “And then about three years later, they said to him, ‘Will you run against the president?’ And he said, ‘I have no comment on that.’ I said, ‘He has no comment? That means he’s running.’ I said, ‘That son of a bitch is running!’”
In September 2022, The Washington Post reported that Trump said of DeSantis, “He’s ungrateful. … I don’t understand what happened here. I don’t understand why he doesn’t appreciate me more.”
Yet in his own autobiography, “The Courage to Be Free,” DeSantis clearly acknowledged his gratitude to Trump for endorsing his run for governor in 2018, noting that he was aware Trump had many things competing for his attention:
In late 2017, I asked the president if he would be willing to send out a tweet touting me as a good candidate for Florida governor. He seemed amenable, but at the same time I was not holding my breath; the president has a lot on his plate, and this was not likely to rank high on his list of things to do. About a week later, a Trump tweet appeared: Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER.
DeSantis, as a Congressman, was one of just a handful of Republicans who defended Trump in the early days of the Trump-Russia collusion attacks on Trump. Meanwhile, it was the House and Senate, controlled by Republicans, that initially launched the investigations into the allegations.
In his autobiography, DeSantis recalled the 2018 election: “As the first mid-term of Donald Trump’s presidency, this was a ‘blue wave’ year in which Democrats were coming to the polls in full force and in which independents were leaning against the party in power.”
“Compared with Hillary Clinton’s 2-point popular vote advantage over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic Party expanded its margin over the Republican Party to 9 points in votes cast for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, a gain of 7 percentage points,” Pew Research noted.
“These tremendous headwinds were apparent throughout the campaign,” DeSantis recalled. “Every day felt like running on a treadmill. I’d spin my wheels but didn’t seem to go anywhere. As the campaign wore on, we slowly but surely were able to bring Gillum back down to earth in terms of his favorability ratings. … As Election Day dawned, I was the decided underdog in the campaign.”
“As the votes were being tabulated, the race was close, but I was trailing. Some of my supporters were getting nervous. I was not. Why? The Panhandle had yet to report. I knew when that happened, I would take the lead for good.”
Trump calling DeSantis a “son-of-a bitch” closely follows DeSantis’ wife Casey releasing a new ad to launch her new nationwide “Mamas for DeSantis” last Thursday; it has racked up almost eight million views.