Former President Donald Trump has said it would be “inappropriate” for him to call Florida Governor Ron DeSantis “Meatball Ron” following reports he has begun using the nickname in private.
Trump has used the term in casual conversations while also labeling the Florida governor “Shutdown Ron,” a reference to restrictions the governor put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“His beaches and State were closed for long periods of time, his testing, testing, testing for the China Virus didn’t work out too well, and his loyalty skills are really weak,” Trump said in his Saturday post.
Trump announced his bid for a second term as president in November and has since launched multiple attacks on DeSantis, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” for playing games by not formally announcing any 2024 presidential ambitions.
DeSantis is seen as the leading challenger to Trump for the GOP presidential nomination. While DeSantis has not yet announced whether he will officially enter the race, polls generally show him and Trump in close competition.
Trump’s posts, according to DeSantis, are slander. Trump is well-known for using pejorative nicknames for his political opponents.
Trump is still the only big-name Republican to have announced their 2024 White House bid. That is expected to change when former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) makes an expected announcement of her running on Wednesday. But there have been no concrete leaks about DeSantis’s intentions so far.
If DeSantis unexpectedly announces that he will not seek to be president in 2024, Trump will almost certainly focus his hostilities elsewhere. But if, as most people expect, DeSantis announces he is challenging Trump, the former president will likely take his assaults up a notch, creating a cascade of chaos in the GOP as the presidential election approaches.