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Trump-DeSantis rift breaks into the open with 'DeSanctimonious' dig, separate Florida rallies
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former President Donald Trump both headlined pre-election rallies in Florida on Sunday, but separately. Trump effusively praised Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) during his 90-minute speech in Miami, mentioning DeSantis only once when he told the crowd they are going to reelect him as governor on Tuesday. DeSantis didn't mention Trump at all during his Sunday events.
Trump, by all accounts preparing to announce another run for the White House, reportedly sees DeSantis as his biggest rival for the 2024 GOP nomination. At a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night, Trump tested out a new nickname: "Ron DeSanctimonous."
"Trump's comment is the first direct slight against DeSantis" since his political action committee announced he would be campaigning with Rubio "while not inviting DeSantis," the Miami Herald reports. "Before Trump's latest jab, Florida Republicans blamed the media for suggesting there was an intraparty feud between DeSantis and Trump." Trump has said he didn't endorse DeSantis this year because DeSantis "never asked," The New York Times reports, while DeSantis allies say the governor didn't attend Trump's Rally Sunday "because he wasn't personally invited."
"Bruised egos are commonplace in politics," the Times adds. "But rarely has a rift at the top of a party spilled so fully into view at such a pivotal moment," just days before an election. Team DeSantis isn't happy about this, CBS News' Robert Costa reports.
"Mr. Trump has been privately testing derisive nicknames for Mr. DeSantis with his friends and advisers, including the put-down he used on Saturday," the Times reports. "Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, appeared to test-drive the nickname" on Oct. 27, writing on Truth Social that "Trump's endorsement MADE Ron DeSanctimonius governor #ingrate."
Trump had "expressed reluctance" about criticizing DeSantis "too aggressively before the midterms," the Times reports, and he decided to cast DeSantis as "hypocritically pious" only after the the governor's team released a video Friday suggesting God made DeSantis "on the eighth day" to be his "protector" and "a fighter." The 96-second video seemed aimed at turning DeSantis "into an object of veneration," the Times suggests, and being viewed "as an almost messianic figure" is Trump's bailiwick.
Some Republicans say they're torn between the two Republican star candidates, but GOP megadonor Ken Griffin told Politico he would support DeSantis over Trump in 2024.