Help or hurt? Trump calls Florida’s governor ‘DeSanctimonious’ in early 2024 competition

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Mon, November 7th 2022, 3:40 PM EST)

LATROBE, Pa. (CBS12) — Two big-name Republicans from Florida have visited another state with high offices up for grabs in Tuesday’s midterm elections, and one resorted to a disparaging nickname about the other.

The comments from former president Donald Trump started out positive, Saturday night in Latrobe, Pa., east of Pittsburgh.

RELATED: What to expect from poll watchers who will be on the job in Florida on Tuesday

“We’re winning big, big, big in the Republican party for the nomination, like nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump said at a rally on Saturday night.

Trump seemed to look ahead when he turned to a list of possible candidates for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Trump is not running in Tuesday’s midterms.

“Let’s see. There it is,” Trump remarked.

Then he began.

Republicans Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have not always been kind to each other. Trump on Oct. 5, 2022. (CBS Newspath) DeSantis on Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

“Trump at 71,” he proudly began reading.

But his demeanor changed when he finished mentioning himself.

“Ron DeSanctimonious at 10 percent,” Trump called out. “Mike Pence at 7.”

Oxford Languages defines “sanctimonious” as making a show of being morally superior to other people.

It was far from the first time Trump used name-calling while trying to mock and take down opponents.

It wasn’t even the first time he did it to Florida’s governor, who is also seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate if he wins reelection over Charlie Crist.

In fact, Trump had reportedly been planning to call DeSantis by that other name.

CBS News quoted a Trump advisor as saying, “He’s been test driving it,” in private for weeks.

And after that one public mention, Trump stopped.

That may have been caused by criticism from some conservatives who consider DeSantis, at 44, the future of the party.

Trump is 76. If he runs for president in 2024 and wins, he’d be 78 when he starts his four-year term. Biden is 79 and will turn 80 in less than two weeks.

“Well, let’s see what happens,” Trump told CBS News Miami. “But in the meantime, we hope he gets elected. And you know, I’ve always had a very good relationship with him. But let’s see what happens.”

As for 2024, he added, “Well, I think I’ve done very well, and I hope he’s going to be elected [on Tuesday].”

CBS12 News has long reported tension between the politicians.

In January, DeSantis said one of his biggest regrets since taking office was not speaking out “much louder” against Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around the same time, Axios reported Trump called DeSantis an ingrate with a “dull personality” who has no realistic chance of beating him if they compete for the 2024 Republican nomination. Trump’s endorsement helped DeSantis become governor over Andrew Gillum, four years ago.

Trump also called politicians who wouldn’t say whether they got their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots “gutless,” and DeSantis has refused to go on the record with that.

As for DeSantis, he has also kept quiet about whether he would run for president in the middle of his second term as governor if he’s reelected.

In September, he told Sinclair’s The National Desk he had “No plans ’cause I have an election I have to do right now in the state of Florida.”

Then, at the CBS12 gubernatorial debate two weeks ago, DeSantis stood in silence every time Crist asked him to tell voters he’d serve his full term.

Before winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Trump referred to Sen. Marco Rubio as “Little Marco,” and former Gov. Jeb Bush became “Low Energy Jeb.”

And that was just Trump — still a New Yorker — attacking the Floridians.

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