Ron DeSantis speaks at length on Trump: For months, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has mostly ignored a barrage of attacks by former President Donald Trump, his likely primary opponent. In an interview this week, that changed.
Ron DeSantis Goes on the Offense Against Donald Trump
Then, on Tuesday, an interview was released in which DeSantis not only was more open than usual about the idea of running for president but was directly critical of his likely future opponent.
DeSantis sat down with Piers Morgan, the British journalist who was seen as a pro-Trump voice early on in the former president’s political rise but later broke with him. By last summer, Morgan was urging Republicans to “dump” Trump and go with DeSantis instead.
The interview, conducted at the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee, will run later this week on Morgan’s Fox Nation show, although the first excerpts appeared in the New York Post, where Morgan writes a column. Both outlets are part of the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, who has also vocally broken with Trump.
In the interview, previewing a potential attack line, Ron DeSantis said he would have fired Dr. Anthony Fauci had he been president.
Trump was sharply critical of the since-retired head of the National Institution of Allergy and Infectious Disease but did not ever fire him.
“I also think just in terms of my approach to leadership, I get personnel in the Government who have the agenda of the people and share our agenda,” DeSantis said, drawing a contrast with Trump’s style as president.
“You bring your own agenda in you’re gone. We’re just not gonna have that. So, the way we run the Government I think is no daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board and I think that’s something that’s very important.”
DeSantis Shows He Is Different
DeSantis also said he will not be “fighting with people on social media,” in another dig at Trump. And he talked about how he and Trump had a good relationship, first when DeSantis was a member of Congress and later during his first two years as governor, which overlapped with Trump’s presidency.
“At the end of the day as a leader, you really want to look to people like our Founding Fathers,” DeSantis told Morgan. “[I]t’s not saying that you don’t ever make a mistake in your personal life, but I think, what type of character are you bringing?”
He added that “Truth is essential. We have to agree that there’s a certain reality to the world we live in and if we can just create our own facts then we’re never gonna be able to agree on anything or never really be able to do policy in a way that makes sense, and so yes, it’s not your truth or my truth, it’s THE truth.”
DeSantis even addressed the former president’s different insulting nicknames for him.
“I don’t know how to spell the sanctimonious one. I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it, it’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels,” he said of Trump’s habit of calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
On non-Trump topics, DeSantis made clear that the issues he’s been emphasizing in Florida, starting with his war on “wokeness,” will be a big part of any future presidential campaign.
“I can tell you a lot of people realize the country is not going in the right direction and believe that what we’ve been able to do in Florida if we can apply that nationally, we can get America back on track and back on our foundations,” the governor said.
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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.