Former President Donald Trump’s campaign lashed out Friday in a wild statement targeting potential 2024 Republican presidential challenger Ron DeSantis, lifting liberal talking points to blame the Florida governor for a list of perceived political missteps that it said have “left a wake of destruction” in the Sunshine State.
“The real DeSantis record is one of misery and despair,” said Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung. “He has left a wake of destruction all across Florida and people are hurting because he has spent more time playing public relations games instead of actually doing the hard-work needed to improve the lives of the people he represents.”
The statement alleged DeSantis, who has not yet announced he is entering the White House race, has persisted “in a weeks-long shadow campaign for president,” allowing Florida “to tumble into complete and total delinquency and destruction.”
“On DeSantis’ watch, Florida has become one of the least affordable states to live in the country,” read the statement from the 76-year-old former president, who famously traded in his New York residency for the Sunshine State in September 2019 and spends most of his time at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.
The claim cited a study from the left-leaning Florida Policy Institute to support its claim.
The statement goes on to blame DeSantis for a host of issues, including a high cost of living in south Florida, skyrocketing home prices, expensive health care costs and car insurance premiums and gas prices — though many of the costs listed have also gone up nationwide due to record inflation.
Trump’s campaign also claims under DeSantis’ leadership that Florida has become one of the worst states to live, find economic opportunity, work, retire, raise a family, pay taxes, be safe, rent a home, afford energy and die — with the last statistic citing votes DeSantis cast as a member of Congress for non-binding resolutions to cut Social Security and Medicare and raise the retirement age.
he campaign also lists professional careers that have allegedly suffered on DeSantis’ watch, including being a teacher, doctor or police officer.
Additionally, Trump’s campaign says Florida is among the worst states in the nation for Millenials, working moms and working dads to reside.
Neither DeSantis’ office nor a super PAC that supports his presidential run responded to a request for comment.
The scathing statement comes after a delegation of Florida GOP representatives met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate Thursday night to formalize their endorsement of the 45th president.
“A great group of supportive Florida Congressmen and Congresswomen, all who have endorsed me, will be coming to Mar-a-Lago tonight,” Trump said on his Truth Social platform.
“Our support is almost universal in Florida and throughout the USA. They remember fondly all of the incredible things I did while in office, one of the most successful administrations in History. Will be a great night!”
The Florida Republicans present were Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Rep. Byron Donalds, Rep. Brian Mast, Rep. Mike Waltz, Rep. Vern Buchanan, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Cory Mills, Rep. Greg Steube and Rep. Carlos Gimenez.
Also more support to come!!
— Alex Bruesewitz 🇺🇸 (@alexbruesewitz) April 21, 2023
None responded to a request for comment on the Trump campaign’s anti-Florida statement.
A new poll published by The Wall Street Journal Friday showed Trump up 13 percentage points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup with DeSantis, as 51% of likely Republican primary voters supported the former president and 38% backed DeSantis. Just 11% said they were undecided.