Governor Ron DeSantis has responded to recent criticism from President Donald Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida. DeSantis, who normally steers clear of responding to President Trump, defended himself and his record of success in Florida, stating, “I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican candidate has in the history of the state of Florida,” adding “That verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.” DeSantis’ comments follow speculation that the governor is set to announce his presidential bid after the end of the Florida legislative session. Considering reports DeSantis’ advisors are scoping out Republican operatives and staff, the Republican primary for 2024 is set to be a hotly contested field if President Trump finds himself in a crowded field of contenders.
By Diana Glebova; January 31, 2023
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to former President Donald Trump criticizing him for his COVID-19 response Tuesday. He said he has “people attacking” him from “all angles” and that the verdict is ultimately up to the “people.”
“Trump has criticized you a number of times in the past couple of days on a number of different issues, one of them being COVID in the state,” Daily Caller chief national correspondent Henry Rodgers asked DeSantis at a press conference on education.
“I roll out of bed; I have people attacking me from all angles,” DeSantis responded. “It’s been happening for many, many years. And if you look at the good thing about it, though, is like if you take a crisis situation like COVID, you know, the good thing about it is when you’re an elected executive, you gotta make all kinds of decisions. You gotta steer that ship, and the good thing is that the people are able to render a judgment on whether they reelect you or not.”
“I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican candidate has in the history of the state of Florida,” DeSantis added. “That verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”
On Saturday and Sunday, Trump issued multiple attacks on DeSantis’ handling of COVID-19 and his shutting down of Florida’s beaches. The former president has also labeled the governor “DeSanctimonious,” and has said that a DeSantis presidential run in 2024 would be bad for the “base.”
“The revelations about Ron DeSanctimonious doing FAR WORSE than many other Republican governors, including that he unapologetically shut down Florida and its beaches, was interesting, indeed. DJT leading BIG!!!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
DeSantis had largely been silent on Trump’s criticisms. In November, he appeared to respond to Trump by alluding to “noise” around him.