Former US president Donald Trump has denied he spends “large amounts” of his time coming up with biting nicknames for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his likely opponent for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. The only declared GOP candidate took to his own Truth Social network to hit back against a New York Times profile that claimed otherwise on Sunday.
“All of the Fake News is reporting that I spend large amounts of my time coming up with a good ‘nickname’ for Ron DeSanctimonious [sic], who is obviously going to give the presidential ‘thing’ a shot,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, insisting the media was “100% wrong, I don’t even think about it — a very unimportant subject to me!!!”
The Times begged to differ, describing how the 2024 candidate “insulted Mr. DeSantis in casual conversations” as ‘Meatball Ron’, supposedly a comment on his appearance, and ‘Shutdown Ron’, for closing down his state at the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic – something Trump himself briefly tried to do with the entire country.
Trump also referred to DeSantis as a RINO [Republican In Name Only] Globalist last month, once again on Truth Social, and has suggested the Florida governor was washed-up before he endorsed him.
DeSantis has thus far opted not to engage with Trump’s real or imaginary name-calling, apparently unwilling to alienate the Trump fans he might someday need to get elected himself. While he has not definitively announced his run for president, he is widely believed to become Trump’s most formidable competitor for the Republican nomination.
Trump would be the second-oldest president to hold the White House should he beat incumbent Joe Biden in a 2024 rematch, though the Times hinted that conservatives are increasingly aligning behind the less-volatile DeSantis.