Trump Follows Up Attack On DeSantis With Bizarre Swipe At Youngkin
(L) Brandon Bell/Getty Images (R) Carlos Bernate/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Trump followed up an unprovoked attack on Florida’s Ron DeSantis with a strange swipe Friday morning at another popular Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.

In both cases, the former president, who is expected to again seek the White House in 2024, claimed credit for the success of his targets. While the attack on DeSantis was withering, the comments about Youngkin included a bizarre observation about his name and a backhanded vote of confidence.

“Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?) in Virginia couldn’t have won without me,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to Vote for him – or he couldn’t have come close to winning. But he knows that, and admits it. Besides, having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia – But he’ll get it done!”

Trump is expected to announce a 2024 White House bid as early as next week, and both DeSantis and Youngkin have been floated as potential primary opponents. While it is true Trump supported both in their runs for governor, neither DeSantis nor Youngkin have said they intend to run for president.

It’s possible Trump zeroed in on Youngkin because earlier Thursday his popular lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, said she would not support a Trump 2024 bid. Although she has previously been a strong supporter of Trump, she said the midterm results showed his time has passed.

“A true leader understands when they have become a liability,” Sears said. “A true leader understands that it’s time to step off the stage. And the voters have given us that very clear message.”

Like DeSantis, Youngkin has not sought to engage Trump despite the former president’s sniping. The Thursday attack on DeSantis followed Trump’s earlier effort to coin one of his trademark nicknames for the Sunshine State governor, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious.” The attempt appeared to fall flat, as many if not most Trump supporters also admire DeSantis, who won re-election Tuesday by a margin of nearly 20%.

On Thursday, Trump went much further. First, he claimed credit for DeSantis’s narrow 2018 gubernatorial victory, then called him an “average” governor and sought to discredit DeSantis’s handling of the COVID pandemic despite the Florida governor’s strong anti-lockdown and anti-mask and vaccine mandate stances.

He ended the blitz by making it clear what was really annoying him: The prospect of a 2024 primary challenge.

“And now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games!” Trump concluded in his attack on DeSantis. “The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future.’ Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”

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