Donald Trump calls DeSantis “Meatball Ron”: As Trump continues taking shots at the Florida governor who may be running against him in 2024, he has reportedly settled on a new nickname for his adversary.
Donald Trump and Those Nicknames
When he ran for president in 2016, Donald Trump came up with many derisive nicknames for his opponents, which he deployed everywhere, from Twitter to the debate stage.
Jeb Bush was “Low-Energy Jeb.” Marco Rubio was “Liddle Marco,” Ted Cruz was “Lyin’ Ted,” and of course, Hillary Clinton was “Crooked Hillary.” The other candidates, in most cases, had no answer for these types of schoolyard insults.
Ahead of 2024, Trump has referred to one of his likely Republican opponents, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as “Ron DeSanctimonious.” After that didn’t appear to catch on, a new report is that Donald Trump has come up with a different name for DeSantis.
Trump Has Thoughts…
According to a New York Times report over the weekend, Trump has, in conversations with friends, been referring to DeSantis as “Meatball Ron,” and sometimes also as “Shutdown Ron,” in reference to “restrictions the governor put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Trump has yet to use either nickname on social media or in public, although even his opponents
“Trump going from ‘ron desanctimonius’ to ‘meatball ron’ is like watching a washed reliever fix his mechanics and rediscover the high heat 4-seam,” one Twitter user said.
“I’m a progressive liberal and hate Trump with all my being, and I think I broke a rib laughing so hard to ‘meatball ron,’” another user said.
One tweet raised the possibility that the “Meatball Ron” name could be perceived as derogatory toward Italian Americans.
The main thrust of the piece was the question of how DeSantis will respond to Trump’s frequent attacks on him, which have escalated in recent months.
Most recently, Trump amplified an attack on Truth Social which implied that the Florida governor had acted inappropriately with female students in the early 2000s when he was a teacher at a private school in Georgia.
“I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden,” was as far as DeSantis would go in reaction to that attack. “That’s how I spend my time. I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans.”
The question is, when will DeSantis respond, how will he do so, and whether he can handle such attacks from Donald Trump in a way that none of his 2016 opponents could.
“Seventeen months before the Republican nominating convention, the future of Mr. Trump’s political movement seems likely to be decided by a battle between the 76-year-old former president, who has redefined the party in his image as centered primarily on grievances, and the 44-year-old governor, who has presented himself as a new and improved heir — younger, smarter and more strategic, policy-focused and disciplined,” the Times piece said.
“No Republican has ever emerged from an exchange with Donald Trump looking stronger, so the natural tendency is to deflect his attacks and avoid confrontation,” Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist, told the newspaper. “The question is what happens when DeSantis finds himself on a debate stage opposite Trump, and G.O.P. voters want to see whether they are getting what they were promised.”
Trump: Will He Fade Like Scott Walker?
Also in the Times, The Upshot newsletter looked at the question of whether DeSantis is the next Scott Walker, the former Wisconsin governor and an early frontrunner in 2016 whose campaign quickly fizzled out. The conclusion? No.
“At least at the beginning of the race, Mr. DeSantis is no Scott Walker. He would start the campaign in a very different and far stronger position, even if there is still no way to know whether he ‘has what it takes’ to succeed against former President Donald J. Trump,” the Times wrote of DeSantis. “What sets Mr. DeSantis apart from Mr. Walker? To be blunt: how many people already say they want him to be president.”
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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.