Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues slumping in the polls for the Republican Party presidential nomination, with a recent survey putting him in third place behind biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. The one-time darling of the right has tumbled as he’s lost the confidence of pro-Trump conservatives.
Now, he’s coming in for more criticism from Trump-supporting conservatives after a post he made in 2018 picked up traction.
Former President George H.W. Bush died on Nov. 30, 2018, at 94. The next day, DeSantis put out a tweet praising Bush.
Trump debated his way to the Republican nomination in part by calling out George W. Bush’s record in office. “I beat the Clinton dynasty. I beat [the] Bush dynasty,” Trump said in June 2018.
“Few Americans have served our country in as many different and important capacities as George H.W. Bush,” wrote DeSantis, then the governor-elect, in 2018.
He praised Bush’s career as CIA chief, legislator, vice president under Ronald Reagan, then president himself.
As it recirculated, Trump supporters expressed disdain for DeSantis’ tweet. “This seals it for me,” Twitter user @RaffMaston wrote on Sunday.
But the same day in 2018, President Donald Trump put out a similar tweet.
“President George H.W. Bush led a long, successful and beautiful life,” the then-president wrote. “Whenever I was with him I saw his absolute joy for life and true pride in his family. His accomplishments were great from beginning to end. He was a truly wonderful man and will be missed by all!”
“Well than[sic] what does this do for you?” Twitter user @CiabanItReal asked with a picture of Trump’s tweet.
“Absolutely, not a damn thing,” wrote Twitter user @Jax05486433. “Trump 2024 if not before.”
Trump had bad blood with the Bush family ever since he ran for president. He frequently targeted then-presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with insults and called out his brother George W.’s role in the illegal wars in the Middle East.
“The World Trade Center came down during his watch,” Trump said in a statement in 2021. “Bush led a failed and uninspiring presidency. He shouldn’t be lecturing anybody!”
Before H.W. Bush died, Trump criticized the “thousand points of light” analogy Bush made in his 1989 inaugural address.
“The thousand points of light, what the hell was that, by the way?” Trump said at the time. “Thousand points of light, what did that mean? Does anyone know? I know one thing: ‘Make America great again,’ we understand. ‘Putting America first,’ we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? And it was put out by a Republican, wasn’t it?”
“I won the lottery when I was born 63 years ago, looked up and saw my mom,” Jeb Bush told Trump during a 2016 Republican primary debate after Trump sparred with his mother. “My mom is the strongest woman I know.”
“She should be running,” Trump replied.
DeSantis, who launched a national political career on the back of his conservative record in Florida, laissez-faire attitude toward COVID-19, and a Trump endorsement, came in Trump’s crosshairs when it became clear he would run for president.
“Nasty?” a former Trump adviser told Politico in July. “This is child’s play. You wanna see nasty? Stay tuned.”
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*First Published: Aug 14, 2023, 3:47 pm CDT