- Donald Trump has plans to ramp up his attacks on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the coming weeks.
- Axios obtained Trump’s 5-point plan which includes shaming DeSantis for his likeability and disloyalty.
- DeSantis has not formally announced whether he will run for president in 2024.
Former President Donald Trump has plans to further increase his attacks against Ron DeSantis in the coming weeks with the hope that a constant stream of criticism might dissuade the Florida governor from running for president in 2024 — and dissuade Republican voters from offering him their support, according to a new Axios report.
Trump believes the mean-spirited nicknames and personal insults he regularly hurls at DeSantis, 44, are already having an impact on the still-early race, the outlet reported this week, slowly eroding support for the young GOP governor who has not yet announced whether he plans to run but is believed to be a strong contender to be the Republican nominee.
In recent months, Trump has brandished a mocking nickname at DeSantis, the oft-used “Ron DeSanctimonious.” The former president, however, rejected a New York Times report last month that alleged he had taken to referring to DeSantis as “meatball Ron” in casual conversations.
Trump, who announced his 2024 candidacy in November of last year, has reportedly created a five-point plan, obtained by Axios, to streamline the coming onslaught against his possible rival. The blueprint offers insight into Trump’s growing insecurity that DeSantis is likely the only opponent who could present a serious challenge to his candidacy.
Among the political points Trump plans to hammer home in forthcoming weeks, according to Axios, is DeSantis’ previous support for changes to Social Security and Medicare, including his Congressional vote to raise the eligibility age for the latter.
Trump also reportedly plans to castigate DeSantis for his likeability and for being disloyal to Trump after the former president supported his 2018 gubernatorial candidacy. Trump also wants to highlight DeSantis’ loyalty to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a bygone politician of the GOP past, according to Axios.
Rounding out the five-point list will be ramped-up attacks on DeSantis’ early COVID-19 response in Florida, as well as his ambiguous stance on the ongoing Ukraine war, the outlet reported.
“There’s a pre-Trump Ron and there’s a post-Trump Ron,” a Trump ally told Axios of DeSantis. “He used to be a Reagan Republican. That’s where he comes from. He’s now awkwardly trying to square his views up with the populist nationalist feeling of that party.”
A spokesperson for DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Despite his carefully-laid plans, Trump continues to publicly posture as being unbothered by DeSantis’ rising star, all the while, launching semi-regular, rage-filled Truth Social rants targeting his likely opponent.
DeSantis, meanwhile, presented a nonchalant attitude toward Trump’s criticism during a Fox News appearance this week, telling Jesse Watters that the nicknames and insults are “background noise.”