Former President Donald Trump took purpose at Ron DeSantis Saturday, claiming the Florida governor and his crew are “making an attempt to rewrite historical past” relating to their Covid-19 pandemic response, and referred to as the potential presidential run by his GOP rival “very disloyal.”
“There are Republican governors that didn’t shut their states,” Trump informed reporters whereas aboard his aircraft. “Florida was closed for an extended time period.”
“They’re making an attempt to rewrite historical past,” he added. CNN has reached out to DeSantis for remark.
In March 2020, the Florida governor issued an govt order closing bars and nightclubs, urging folks to observe US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention tips to restrict gatherings on seashores to not more than 10 folks. By that September, DeSantis signed an order clearing eating places and bars to totally open, which drew criticism from public well being officers because of the Covid-19 spike that fall.
Trump defended his administration of the pandemic, saying he left selections to governors.
“I had governors that determined to not shut a factor and that was as much as them,” he mentioned. The previous president additionally took purpose at DeSantis’ shifting posture on vaccines, saying the Florida governor had “modified his tune quite a bit.”
That declare comes after DeSantis referred to as on state lawmakers this month to make everlasting current penalties for firms that require all workers get the Covid-19 vaccination.
The rivalry with Trump hangs over each transfer DeSantis makes. Their relationship traces again to the governor’s 2018 main marketing campaign, when an endorsement from Trump helped the little-known congressman win the nomination. A viral advert that includes DeSantis and his household, together with two younger youngsters, highlighted his allegiance to Trump.
However as speak of 2024 swirled in latest months, as Trump once more declared his presidential candidacy, and DeSantis received re-election in a 19-point landslide in November, the pair grew more and more at odds. Earlier than and after the midterm election, Trump derided DeSantis as an “common governor” and mocked him with the would-be nickname, “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
On Saturday, throughout his first main marketing campaign swing to New Hampshire and South Carolina, Trump took credit score once more for serving to elevate DeSantis throughout his 2018 bid for governor, saying “Ron would haven’t been governor if it wasn’t for me.”
“So once I hear he may run, I take into account that very disloyal,” Trump mentioned.
Whereas taking purpose at DeSantis, Trump informed reporters aboard his aircraft that Nikki Haley – who served as his ambassador to the United Nations – referred to as him in latest days to tell him that she is contemplating launching a 2024 presidential bid.
“I talked to her for a short while, I mentioned, ‘Look, you recognize, go by your coronary heart if you wish to run,’” Trump mentioned. “She’s publicly mentioned that ‘I’d by no means run in opposition to my president, he was an excellent president.’”
Trump mentioned he informed Haley that she “ought to do it.”
Haley, who just lately relocated her high aides to Charleston, is alleged to be weighing the timing of a marketing campaign launch at this level, not eager to be the primary one to tackle Trump by herself. In 2021, she mentioned she wouldn’t problem Trump if he ran once more for the White Home in 2024.
CNN has reached out to Haley for remark.