Former President Donald Trump downplayed the massive victory of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, claiming that he won more votes in the state in 2020.
DeSantis won a 17 point landslide victory, 58.3% to 41%, against Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. With the governor being a potential political rival in 2024, Trump wrote in a Truth Social post Wednesday that he received more votes in Florida, though voter turnout is always higher in presidential races than state level elections.
“Now that the Election in Florida is over, and everything went quite well, shouldn’t it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 million to 4.6 million? Just asking?” he said.
The former president won Florida by earning over 5.6 million votes, while then-presidential candidate Joe Biden received nearly 5.3 million, Politico reported. DeSantis received over 4.6 million votes, over 1 million more than the 3.1 million cast for Crist, The New York Times reported. (RELATED: DeSantis Reacts To Straw Poll Showing Him Narrowly Leading Against Trump In Potential 2024 Presidential Race)
Trump has taken recent shots at DeSantis after repeatedly hinting at his intent to announce his reelection bid for 2024. Several polls have indicated that likely Republican primary voters believe the Florida governor should be the nominee and take on a leadership role in the party. One Suffolk University and USA Today poll released in September found that DeSantis would defeat Trump by 48% to 41% among Florida voters in a hypothetical Republican primary election.
At a campaign rally Saturday, Trump mocked DeSantis by calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” in a speech touting his popularity among the Republican Party. He then said Tuesday that it would be “a mistake” for the Florida governor to run for president because “the base would not like it.”
“I think if he runs he could hurt himself very badly,” he said. “If he runs, he runs. If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”
Trump also reportedly did not invite DeSantis to a campaign rally alongside Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in late October, which apparently upset many in the governor’s circle, according to Politico. The former president’s advisers, however, have disputed accusations of animosity between Trump and DeSantis.
Despite the apparent animosity, Trump told a reporter Tuesday that he voted for DeSantis.
Though DeSantis has not expressed his intent to run, he did not give a straight answer whether he will serve a full two-year gubernatorial term at the debate against Crist.