OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump is furious with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for getting into the presidential contest and he has not been hiding it.
He was confronted about his thoughts on the matter by reporter Kyle Mazza as he played golf during the LIV Golf Washington DC 2023 Pro-Am round at Trump National Golf Club Washington DC in Sterling, VA.
“If you were on a debate stage with Ron DeSantis, what would you say to him? What would be your interaction with him?” the reporter said.
“I watched him with Charlie Crist and he got very badly beaten by Charlie Crist. Adam Putnam beat him. They say he’s not a very good debater, but maybe he is. We’ll find out. Maybe we’ll find out. Because unless he gets close, why would anybody debate?” the former president said.
Trump has hinted before that he may not take part in the Republican primary debates as he was not consulted before the dates, locations and moderators were chosen.
“Are you angry, Mr. President, that Ron DeSantis entered the race?” the reporter said.
“No, I think he’s a very disloyal person — because he was dead,” the former president said. “He was looking for jobs and I endorsed him and he went up many points. He was thirty points down at least, maybe more than that. He was dead. So I think he’s very disloyal, but I don’t care. Look, a poll just came out in Iowa… I’m leading by 30 or 40 points. I don’t mind that at all. I think he’s very disloyal but he has no personality. If you’ve got no personality in politics, it’s a very hard business.”
DeSantis made his 2024 presidential candidacy official this week with a glitchy but ultimately successful launch during a Twitter Spaces online event, but it’s obvious he has an uphill climb to unseat the GOP’s current polling frontrunner, Donald Trump.
According to a survey released on Friday, the former president holds a substantial 25-point lead in the key primary state of South Carolina.
“Scheduled to be held Feb. 24, following the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, South Carolina is widely considered to be an important state toward securing the GOP’s nomination,” Newsmax reported.
In a recent survey conducted by National Research Inc. on behalf of American Greatness, Trump secured a strong lead in the Palmetto State with 43 percent support among likely Republican voters. Following behind was DeSantis with 18 percent, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott with 12 percent, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley with 10 percent.
Haley was the first to declare her presidential run after Trump did so in November. Scott declared his candidacy earlier in the week ahead of DeSantis’ official launch.
A total of 13% said they were undecided or had other preferences, including former Vice President Mike Pence (1%), businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (1%), New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (1%), and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (1%).
Trump was way ahead of DeSantis when likely GOP voters were asked:
- Which candidate is the best to improve our economy (60% to 11%)
- Which is seen as a stronger voice against far-left progressives (42% to 20%)
- Which is more compassionate to your needs (36% to 19%).
Following his launch, DeSantis made the media rounds, including an appearance on Newsmax TV’s “Eric Bolling The Balance,” where he said he appreciated Trump’s previous accomplishments during his term as president.
“Most of our voters appreciate a lot of the things that President Trump did,” DeSantis said. “I do. He’s been attacking me a lot, but I still give him credit for the things that he did well, especially with the economy in the first three years.”