Donald Trump’s energetic, jeering crowd of fans were notably silent when the former president made fun of Florida governor Ron DeSantis at a rally on Saturday.
Speaking to a crowd of MAGA supporters in Waco, Texas, Trump recounted how DeSantis once asked him for an endorsement so that he could win the Florida governorship.
The former president even mocked DeSantis for making the request, imitating him in a pleading, crying voice.
But unlike Trump’s attacks on his other political rivals, like Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz, the crowd did not seem to laugh or cheer at his remarks – and instead were eerily quiet during the tirade.
They did, however, applaud just moments later when Trump hurriedly changed the subject and noted that he is ahead of other Republicans in polls for the 2024 presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump told supporters in Waco, Texas on Saturday how Florida Gov Ron DeSantis once begged him for an endorsement
He claimed DeSantis came to him with ‘tears in his eyes’ and he appeared at ‘massive rallies’ for him. The two are pictured at one of the rallies in 2018
Conservative broadcaster Piers Morgan said the reaction was ‘awkward’
While in Waco on Saturday, Trump told his supporters how DeSantis came to him with ‘tears in his eyes’ begging for an endorsement ‘while at almost nothing’ in the polls in 2018.
‘So he came and he really wanted, I said, “You can’t win, can you?”‘ Trump recounted before acting out how DeSantis begged him for an endorsement in the Florida governor race.
‘”Sir, if you endorse me, I’ll win,”‘ Trump imitated DeSantis in a pleading, crying voice, as the crowd remained mostly silent. ‘”Please, please sir, endorse me.”‘
‘He said, “I don’t think I can make it” because the other guy was rally popular. He was going to be the next president of the United States,’ the former president continued, before suggesting he would have endorsed DeSantis’ GOP rival Adam Putnam if he knew him better.
‘I said, “Let’s give it a shot, Ron,”‘ Trump said. ‘I did rallies for Ron, massive rallies and they were very successful,’ the former president said. ‘So we got him the nomination. We then got him the election.’
‘Two years later, the fake news is up there saying, “Will you run?” And he says, “I have no comment.”
‘I say, “That’s not supposed to happen.”
Trump also trashed DeSantis over his record on Social Security and Medicare at the rally on Saturday, and bashed him for re-opening Florida early after Trump shut down the nation during the COVID outbreak.
He even said DeSantis is ‘not good’ on crime, Mediaite reports, but got virtually no reaction from the crowd as he spoke.
Conservative broadcaster Piers Morgan called the reaction ‘awkward’ in the aftermath, tweeting: ‘It seems Trump supporters don’t like him bashing a wildly successful Republican governor…’
Trump also trashed DeSantis over his record on Social Security and Medicare at the rally on Saturday
Some DeSantis supporters and Trump ‘skeptics’ are questioning whether he should run against the former president. DeSantis is pictured in Des Moines, Iowa earlier this month
The Florida governor dismissed the attacks on him as ‘background noise’ in a recent interview with Piers Morgan
Trump’s remarks on Saturday were just the latest as the former president tries to go after his political rivals in the lead up to the 2024 presidential election.
He has previously attacked DeSantis on his Truth Social platform, using the nickname ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’
The Florida governor then addressed the repeated attacks in a recent interview with Piers Morgan, saying the ‘regular attempts to provoke him’ are nothing but ‘background noise.’
Still, the Republican base seems to favor Trump over DeSantis, with the former president leading in all of the polls.
A Morning Consult poll conducted March 17 through March 19, for example, found that Trump has taken a 28-point lead over DeSantis, who garnered just 26 percent of support from the GOP.
He did, however, fare slightly better in a head-to-head against President Biden than Trump did.
Asked about a hypothetical matchup between Biden and DeSantis, respondents favored the current president 43 to 41 percent.
In a hypothetical match up between Biden and Trump, Biden is ahead 44 to 41 percent.
Now, some in the GOP are questioning whether DeSantis is ready to face off against Trump.
At a luncheon following the annual Red Cross ball in Palm Beach, Florida, a group of 16 prominent Republicans described to NBC News as a mix of DeSantis supporters and Trump ‘skeptics’ discussed misgiving about the Florida governor’s political future.
‘They liked him — many of them might even support him,’ the unnamed source said. ‘But they thought on balance that his long-term future was better without him trying to take Trump head on.’
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