In a response to former President Donald Trump’s attack, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he doesn’t spend his time smearing fellow Republicans.
The GOP governor and 2024 likely presidential candidate speaking at a press conference in Ocala responded to questions on Trump’s latest broadside. Trump who has already announced his run for presidential re-election on Tuesday, insinuated sarcastically that the Florida governor was grooming teenage girls in a post on social media.
In a blog run by Democratic super PAC, an image was included where DeSantis is seen with a group of teenagers in 2002. The photo was taken from a story reported by a Hill Reporter in 2021.
When DeSantis was a 23-year-old teacher in Georgia,he sometimes “hung out at parties with seniors” as per a November report.
DeSantis tried to dismiss the attack when confronted with it on Wednesday, at the Ocala press conference.
“I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden — That’s how I spend my time,” DeSantis said in a response to the former president’s accusations, adding, “I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans.”
This was his latest retort in a series of attacks and counter attacks between him and his one-time political benefactor, Donald Trump without whose endorsement, DeSantis couldn’t have won the 2018 election cycle. Yet their relationship took a toll as DeSantis’ clout grew among Republicans. He is now being seen as a stronger candidate to lead the party and more electable for the post of President in 2024.
The strain in the relationship was on full display on Tuesday when Ron DeSantis was hosting a round-table discussion on media bias and defamation, wherein he fielded several people, including a conservative lawyer who represents Dominion Voting Systems Inc. in a defamation suit against former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell- who are also Trump’s closest allies.
When asked about Trump’s social media post on Wednesday and whether any defamation legislation would be applicable to Trump, DeSantis replied that his skin was very thick, brushing off the former president’s broadside.
“I would not take time out of being governor to be fighting lawsuits,” he said. “It’s just not practical.”
While hosting a panel on defamation DeSantis indicated that the Florida legislature should make it easier to sue media outlets for defamation, when Trump’s jab occurred.
When asked during his press conference how the proposed legislation might address Trump’s attack, DeSantis responded by saying he’s in a different situation as governor.
“It’s different for me because I can fight back and people just know I face defamatory stuff every single day I’ve been governor, that’s just the nature of it,” he said. “But I have a platform to fight back, and a lot of these other people that are [smaller], they don’t necessarily have a platform to fight back.”
Trump is running for the White House for a third time but has become increasingly critical of DeSantis, who is seen as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate as well.
DeSantis is yet to announce his candidacy for 2024 presidential elections, while Trump announced his bid last year on November 15, in a ceremony held at Mar-a-Lago. DeSantis has recently emerged as a prominent GOP rival to former President Donald Trump.
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