‘I don’t know what happened to Donald Trump’: DeSantis says ex-President is ‘running to the LEFT,’ has ‘changed’ since he first ran for the White House and his campaign is going in the ‘wrong direction’
- Ron DeSantis is finally unloading attacks against ex-President Donald Trump
- DeSantis spent months avoiding criticism of now his No. 1 primary election rival
- The Florida governor entered the 2024 race in a botched Twitter announcement Wednesday after months of speculation
Ron DeSantis is finally going all-in against Donald Trump in the days after formally entering the 2024 Republican presidential primary race.
For months the Florida governor avoided taking swipes at the ex-president despite a barrage of attacks levied against him from the Trump side. But now, DeSantis has made some of his most pointed remarks against the man whose endorsement he once sought.
Speaking with Tennessee conservative radio host Matt Murphy, DeSantis claimed that Trump ‘is a different guy today’ than when he was running for president in 2016.
He also claimed that Trump’s campaign continues to show more signs of leaning left-ward rather than sticking to conservative values – something he promises not to do as a candidate or as president.
Following the governor’s delayed and glitch-filled Twitter Spaces announcement with Elon Musk, DeSantis has taken to more traditional media sources as part of his post-campaign launch media glitz, like radio.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is finally unloading attacks against Donald Trump following months of avoiding criticism of the former president and now his No. 1 Republican presidential primary rival
‘It seems like he’s running to the left and I have always been somebody that’s just been moored in conservative principles,’ DeSantis told Murphy. ‘So these will be interesting debates to have, but I can tell you, you don’t win nationally by moving to the left, you win nationally by standing for bold policy. We showed that in Florida. I never watered down anything I did.’
‘I don’t know what happened to Donald Trump; this is a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016 and I think the direction that he’s going with his campaign is the wrong direction,’ DeSantis said.
He also said in a separate interview that Trump’s early-day COVID-19 policies ‘destroyed millions of people’s lives.’
‘When he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020 that destroyed millions of people’s lives,’ DeSantis said, referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
On Fox News, DeSantis said that among his Day One priorities as president would be to fire Trump’s handpicked FBI director Christopher Wray.
Notably, the Florida governor is making the case that he will better deliver on the promises that Trump made and failed to see through in his single presidential term.
‘At the end of the day,’ DeSantis told Murphy when speaking about Trump, ‘he is going left on a lot of the fiscal, he’s going left on culture, he’s even sided with Disney against me.’
Despite unloading on Trump Thursday, DeSantis also implied that, as president, he would consider pardoning Trump if he is charged with a crime related to the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
‘On Day 1 I will have folks that will get together and look at all these cases who people are victims of weaponization or political targeting and will be aggressive in issuing pardons,’ DeSantis told The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show when asked about pardoning individuals charged in relation to the January 6 storming.
‘We see that in a variety of contexts, some of which you mentioned,’ DeSantis said. ‘Some of it is the FBI going after parents going to school board meetings, some of it’s how they treat a pro-life demonstrator, how they don’t go after people that are attacking pro-lifers.’
DeSantis was then asked if he also would consider pardoning Trump if he’s charged.
‘I would say an example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review no matter how small or how big,’ he responded.