Donald Trump lashes out at ‘average Republican’ Ron DeSantis after US elections

Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump

Donald Trump has branded Ron DeSantis as little more than “an average Republican governor”, amidst speculation both men could announce a bid for the White House in 2024.

DeSantis was re-elected as governor of Florida with a 60% share of the vote, making him one of the most successful stories in a midterm election that left a lot of Republicans disappointed.

The 44-year-old is widely seen as a rising star in the party due to his success in turning Florida from a swing state into a solid Republican stronghold.

But Trump belittled him in a move that could be seen as an early attempt to take down a rival in a 2024 primary.

In a statement, the former President described DeSantis as “average” and “in desperate shape”, styling him as “Ron DeSanctimonious”.

“He was politically dead, losing in a landslide to a very good agriculture commissioner, Adam Putnam, who was loaded up with cash and great poll numbers,” Trump said.

“Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said that if I would endorse him, he could win.

“When I endorsed him, it was as though, to use a bad term, a nuclear weapon went off.

“I also fixed his campaign, which had completely fallen apart.”

Trump lashed out after many of his hand-picked candidates lost in elections the Republicans were predicted to win by a landslide – most notably in Pennsylvania where Democrat John Fetterman won the Senate race against TV salesman Dr Mehmet Oz.

Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Dayton International Airport in Ohio

Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Dayton International Airport in Ohio (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The disappointing night meant that many higher-ups in the Republican party have been looking elsewhere for 2024 Presidential candidates, with DeSantis being the top pick for an alternative to Trump, who still leads in the polls as Republican voter’s top choice.

Desantis’s administration has systematically attempted to restrict the rights of transgender people in Florida, particularly in the school system, and there are fears for the future of LGBTQ+ rights in the US, should he become a future president.

Original drafts of his Don’t Say Gay bill made it mandatory for schools to report any child requesting to identify as a different gender or sexuality to their parents.

Florida also joined several other Republican-controlled states such as Missouri and Texas in banning trans people from using Medicaid to get gender-affirming healthcare, with the state’s surgeon general Joseph Ladapo describing the practice as “injecting political ideology into the health of our children”.