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DeSantis, Double Down, Asks About Trump’s Character

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, Donald J. Trump’s closest potential rival in early polls for the 2024 Republican presidential primary, asked about the former president’s character and presented himself as a ” winner” undramatically in an interview. this week with British media personality Piers Morgan.

The interview, about which Mr. Morgan wrote for the New York Post on Tuesday, was striking in terms of Mr. DeSantis’ expansion and his choice of interviewer: Mr. Morgan, like Mr. DeSantis, was the target of Mr. Trump’s wrath.

The interview came sometime after an event Mr. DeSantis hosted Monday in Panama City, Florida, where he criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, who is expected to indict Mr. Trump for silence-related charges. cash payments to a porn star who said she had an affair with him. After that event, Mr. DeSantis also pointed to Mr. Trump’s personal conduct.

In the interview with Mr. Morgan, Mr. DeSantis was clearly taking aim at Mr. Trump’s oft-criticized penchant for chaos and for hiring people who disagreed with his stated political interests and often leaked information to the media.

“I also think in terms of leadership approach, I get people into government who have the people’s agenda and share our agenda,” DeSantis said. “You bring your own diary, you’re gone. We’re just not going to have that. So the way we run government, I think, is not a day-to-day drama, focusing on the big picture and putting points on the board, and I think that’s something very important.

When Mr. Morgan asked Mr. DeSantis ‘if he meant to be as censored as he seemed’ in his Monday comments mentioning Mr. Trump’s personal conduct, the governor replied “Well, there’s a lot of speculation about the underlying conduct. . That’s supposed to be it, and the reality is it’s just outside my wheelhouse.

Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, criticized Mr. DeSantis for the interview.

“Ron DeSantis has finally shown his true colors” he wrote on Twitter. “A Never Trumper establishment that despises the MAGA base and pretended all the time.”

Taylor Budowich, a senior super PAC official backing Mr. Trump and a former spokesperson for the president, writing“While the entire conservative movement is united against President Donald Trump’s unjust indictment, DeSantis chooses to walk away half-armed and take pictures on a cheap vlog.”

Mr. DeSantis, who has distanced himself from the mainstream media, sounded an optimistic note about running for president. He is expected to officially announce his candidacy in the coming months.

“If I had to run, I’m running against Biden,” DeSantis said. He added that he would continue to focus on “Biden because I think he let the country down. I think the country wants a change. I think they want a fresh start and a new direction, and so we’re going to be very vocal about it.

How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staffers can vote, they are not allowed to support or campaign for political candidates or causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or donating money or raising funds for any political candidate or electoral cause.

When asked if he could beat President Biden, he replied: “I think so.”

Mr. Morgan wrote in The Post that when asked about leadership conduct, Mr. DeSantis replied, “You really want to look to people like our founding fathers, like what type of character? That’s not to say you never make mistakes in your personal life, but I think what kind of character do you bring?”

He cited George Washington – who “always put the Republic before his personal interests” – as an example.

At another point he described the ‘truth’ as ​​’essential’, a notable comment in a discussion about Mr Trump, who is known for telling lies and whose lies about the 2020 election have dominated political life of the country for two years.

Mr. DeSantis, who faced attacks from Mr. Trump over Covid restrictions in Florida at the start of the pandemic, sought to turn things around.

“Covid’s approach was different,” DeSantis said. “I would have fired someone like Fauci. I think he got way too big for his panties, and I think he did a lot of damage.

In reality, Mr. Trump had no direct control over Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the infectious disease expert whom Republicans turned into a villain as the pandemic continued.

Mr. DeSantis, a graduate of Yale University, claimed he “can’t spell” one of Mr. Trump’s nicknames for him, Ron DeSanctimonious.

“I don’t really know what that means, but I like it,” Mr. DeSantis said. “It’s long, there are a lot of vowels. We’ll deal with that, that’s fine. I mean, you can call me whatever you want, as long as you call me a winner too, because that’s what we were able to do in Florida, that’s put a lot of points on the board and really bring this status to the next level.”

Mr. DeSantis’ assault this week surprised Republican operatives and Trump allies. His comments to Mr. Morgan came a day after Mr. Trump made a statement on his social media site, Truth Social, insinuating that Mr. DeSantis might be gay – a response to Mr. DeSantis’ comments about “the silent money” and “porn stars”. .” (Mr. Trump denied having an affair with Stormy Daniels, the porn star in the New York affair.)

“Ron DeSanctimonious will likely discover FALSE ACCUSATIONS AND FALSE STORIES in the future, as he grows older, becomes wiser and better known, when he is unjustly and unlawfully attacked by a woman, even “underage” classmates. (or maybe a guy!),” Mr. Trump wrote on Monday. “I’m sure he’ll want to fight these misfits like I do!”

nytimes Gt

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