Saturday, 2 September 2023

Trump Repeatedly Attacks DeSantis While He Manages Florida Hurricane Response

 Former President Donald Trump has taken aim at Ron DeSantis dozens of times as the Florida governor has stepped off the presidential campaign trail to manage his state’s crisis response to Hurricane Idalia.

The near-Category 4 Hurricane was a once-in-a-century storm to hit Florida’s Big Bend and left severe flooding and billions of dollars in its wake.

DeSantis arrived back in Tallahassee from Iowa on Saturday to manage the state’s response, which has been widely praised, before the storm made landfall on Wednesday morning.

Early in the week, Trump said that rumors were “strong in political circles that Ron DeSanctimonious, whose Presidential run is a shambles, and whose poll numbers have absolutely crashed, putting him 3rd and 4th in some states, will be dropping out of the Presidential race in order to run, in Florida, against Rick Scott for Senate.”

DeSantis’ team responded, “This is fake news. Clearly, Donald Trump and his army of consultants are panicked about @RonDeSantis’ winning debate performance and the strong momentum that has followed.”

Once the hurricane hit, DeSantis’ political operation largely went quiet as the governor focused on responding to the storm.

Trump targeted DeSantis dozens of times on social media by posting claims, videos, or online poll numbers that showed Trump leading DeSantis, who is in second place, in the Republican Party presidential primary.

Trump accused DeSantis of having “unnecessarily approved a 20% hike in Florida Electricity Rates, the largest in history (by far!).”

Jeremy Redfern, press secretary in the governor’s office, responded, “The Public Service Commission, an arm of the state legislative branch, is responsible for setting rates for the states Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs). The Governor does not have a role in setting rates for utilities in the state. Additionally, energy costs have been rising since Biden took office and killed domestic energy production.”


As people in Florida dealt with the fallout of the hurricane, Trump posted about how he got more votes than DeSantis in Florida, though DeSantis was on a midterm ballot and Trump was on a presidential ballot.

“Ron DeSanctimonious is always talking about the number of votes he got in Florida,” Trump posted Thursday in a video. “He doesn’t say that I got a record 1.1 million more votes than him!”

Trump also posted a link to a Daily Mail article titled: “EXCLUSIVE: Ron DeSantis $50 million super PAC CLOSES after donors were spooked by ‘rookie s*** mistakes.'”

“Wow! ‘A Super PAC set up to back Ron DeSanctimonious with $50 Million, is closing as donors have backed out -0 while its founder said the Florida Governor’s campaign is guilty of rookie mistakes, and he will now back Donald Trump.’ Daily Mail, by Morgan Phillips,” Trump wrote. “Thank you to John Thomas, the highly respected Republican strategist!”

Rob Pyers, an expert in FEC filings, responded to the Daily Mail article by mocking the defunct PAC as illegitimate. “I guess it’s a more eye-catching headline than ‘Unauthorized DeSantis ScamPAC that paid its founder 75% of the $1,621 it raised folds, will now support Trump with the $57 dollars it has left,'” Pyers wrote.

The DeSantis camp had warned back in November 2022 about the “Ron to the Rescue PAC,” saying it was “formed and continue to use Ron DeSantis’ name and likeness to raise funds without his permission or authorization.” Legal counsel for DeSantis sent a letter at the time to donors saying the PAC was “similar to other ‘pro-DeSantis’ PACs that have formed and continue to use Ron DeSantis’ name and likeness to raise funds without his permission or authorization.”

DeSantis Communications Director Andrew Romeo responded to the Daily Mail report on Thursday: “We’ve made clear from the beginning that this was a scam PAC looking to grift off Ron DeSantis and it comes as welcome news they are no longer attempting to fleece our donors. Ron DeSantis outraised both Biden and Trump last quarter, and we look forward to continuing our fundraising success as we capitalize on his strong debate performance and momentum in the early states.”

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