Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should have waited his turn to run for president, and ridiculed his main 2024 rival’s lack of charisma.
Trump told an audience in Windham, New Hampshire, that DeSantis made a mistake by challenging him for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
“What he did wrong is he should have waited until ’28,” Trump said. “But I don’t know if that would have held water, because eventually they would have figured out — you know, you do need some personality if you’re going to be a politician.”
The former president added that he was disappointed when DeSantis launched his 2024 campaign. Trump claimed he was responsible for DeSantis’ 2018 election as governor, and said DeSantis showed disloyalty by using his easy gubernatorial reelection last year as a springboard for a presidential campaign.
“That’s why I’ve been particularly hard on him, and fortunately it’s worked because he’s crashing,” Trump bragged.
DeSantis’ struggling campaign announced a shake-up on Tuesday in an effort to restore momentum for his White House bid. He replaced his campaign manager with his gubernatorial office chief of staff James Uthmeier. This follows the firing of a third of his campaign staff amid fundraising setbacks.
DeSantis has been trailing the former president by over 36 points in an average of national polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight.
The two leading Republicans could face off at the first GOP primary debate set for later this month in Milwaukee. However, Trump has threatened to skip the debate to avoid elevating his rivals.
DeSantis has been preparing for the event and hired an experienced debate coach, Brett O’Donnell, to help him, according to ABC News.