Former President Donald Trump took a potshot Tuesday at Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, sharing an old photograph floating around social media that purported to show him drinking alcohol with minors.
The blurry photograph, which Mr. Trump posted twice on his social media feed, appeared to show a man smiling alongside three young women, and a caption reading: “Here is Ron DeSanctimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.”
“That’s not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!” Mr. Trump said on his Truth Social feed.
In the second post of the same photograph, Mr. Trump said, “No way?”
There was no indication of whether the man in the photograph was Mr. DeSantis, nor was there any indication of the girls’ ages.
Mr. Trump, nevertheless, plowed ahead with his latest jab directed at Mr. DeSantis who is eyeing a run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination and currently ranks as Mr. Trump’s most powerful rival.
Mr. Trump said last year he would not pull any punches against Mr. DeSantis, telling reporters “if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly.”
“I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering — I know more about him than anybody — other than, perhaps, his wife,” he said.
Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. DeSantis‘ bid for governor in 2017, helping put him on a path to victory. The relationship, however, has cooled ahead of their potential showdown in 2024.
Polls show Mr. DeSantis is shaping up to be Mr. Trump’s stiffest competition in the Republican primary race.
Mr. DeSantis is expected to enter the presidential race after the current session of the Florida legislature. Puck reported this week Mr. DeSantis‘ consultants are putting together a super PAC in preparation for a bid.
Mr. Trump has been piling on the criticism.
He has called Mr. DeSantis “a RINO GLOBALIST” and criticized his response to the coronavirus. He also told reporters last week during his first campaign swing to New Hampshire and South Carolina that Mr. DeSantis “would not have been governor if it was not for me.”
“When I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal,” he said.
Mr. DeSantis has tried not to get dragged into the mud.
He recently brushed off Mr. Trump’s “disloyal” comment by pointing out voters elected him in a historic fashion in the midterm elections where and he led the Florida GOP to wins up and down the ticket.
“I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles, it’s been happening for many, many years,” Mr. DeSantis said during a recent press conference
“The good thing is, is that the people are able to render a judgment on that whether they reelect you or not. And I’m happy to say — you know in my case — not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has had in the history of the state of Florida,” he said. “That verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”