DeSantis Fires Back at Trump-‘I Don’t Spend My Time Trying to Smear Other Republicans’-but Doesn’t Use His Name

Governor Ron DeSantis took an indirect swipe at former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, after enduring months of attacks from his friend-turned-foe, including a recent accusation that he was “grooming” high school girls.

At an Ocala news conference, DeSantis was asked about Trump’s most recent accusations. The Governor slyly responded to the question by, on the surface, refusing to answer it.

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“I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden. That’s how I spend my time,” the Governor said to considerable applause. After it died down, DeSantis let the other shoe drop. “I don’t spend my time trying to smear other republicans,” he said. After an uncertain silence, applause broke out again, with one crowd member saying, “That’s right.”

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Trump, who has declared his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has become increasingly aggressive towards DeSantis, who is widely believed to be the biggest potential threat to the former president.  DeSantis has been content to ignore Trump almost completely, opting instead to continue to point to his record, citing the size of his midterm victory and repeatedly referencing his policy successes, including on COVID-19. While DeSantis touted these issues as Trump was attacking them, it’d be difficult to call them a response; calling them fortifications would be closer to the mark. Until now.

On Tuesday, with two posts on Truth Social, Trump amplified an allegation that DeSantis had been inappropriate with students at a private school in Georgia where he had taught briefly in the early 2000s.

In one post, Trump ‘re-truthed’ a picture of a younger Ron DeSantis and his supposed former students. DeSantis is holding what appears to be a beer bottle. Superimposed on the image is the critical implication. It reads, “Here is Ron DeSanctimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.” Trump included his comment in his re-truth, seemingly supporting the original caption with, “That’s not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!”

Trump also re-truthed a post that offered a more detailed theory. “Ron DeSantis was having a ‘drink’ party with his students when he was a high school teacher. Having drinks with underage girls and cuddling with them certainly look pretty gross and ephebophiliaesque.” Trump also added his comment to this post in the same mock-denial style, writing, “No way?”

This was enough to push DeSantis to respond. The Governor’s response did not reference Trump, only calling the attacks a smear and implying there are better things to spend time on.

Twitter users, however, have no such restraint, with many tearing into the former president.

While others supported Trump and forwarded the barb.

Still, others pointed out that the former president may not have solid ground to stand on on this particular angle of attack.

One thing is for sure, the cold war between DeSantis and Trump is already heating up. And with nearly two years until election day and DeSantis not even announcing yet, when the race is indeed underway, it’s bound to get messy.

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