In an interview this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has sharp words about recent attacks by former President Donald Trump, and about some of the decisions of the Trump administration.
He is also offering what could be his strongest hint yet about his 2024 plans, telling supporters to "stay tuned" on whether he aims to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination.
In the interview by TalkTV's "Piers Morgan Uncensored," set to air Thursday night, DeSantis contended he could "beat" President Joe Biden by providing results rather than talking tough.
"I get personnel in the government who have the agenda of the people and share our agenda," the governor said. "So, the way we run the government, I think, is no daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board, and I think that's something that's very important." In this, he appeared to be contrasting his vision with that of the Trump administration.
DeSantis described Trump's attacks against him, which have involved the nickname "Ron DeSanctimonious" and most recently a suggestion of forthcoming accusations, as nothing more than "background noise." Indeed, up to this point he has seemed to hold off on any direct engagement with Trump's criticisms.
"It's not important for me to be fighting with people on social media. It's not accomplishing anything for the people I represent," DeSantis emphasized. "So, we really just focus on knocking out victories, day after day, and if I got involved in all the undertow, I would not be able to be an effective governor."
In what Morgan characterized as a "series of jabs" against Trump, who would be DeSantis' biggest GOP rival, the governor alluded to failings in areas like the pandemic.
"The approach to COVID was different," he said. "I would have fired somebody like Fauci," DeSantis said. "I think he got way too big for his britches, and I think he did a lot of damage."
As for some characterizations of Trump's administration as chaotic or marked by infighting, he had this to say: "You bring your own agenda in, you're gone. We're just not gonna have that. So, the way we run the government I think is no daily drama, focus on the big picture, and put points on the board."
Although he refused to comment on potential charges against Trump in the alleged Stormy Daniels hush-money scandal, DeSantis made it clear that he values high moral standards in a leader.
"At the end of the day, as a leader, you really want to look to people like our founding fathers," DeSantis explained. "It's not saying that you don't ever make a mistake in your personal life, but I think what type of character are you bringing?"
The governor noted that Trump's recent sudden turn against him came right after he won reelection by a 19.4-point margin against Democrat politician Charlie Crist.
Here, DeSantis, who was bemused by Trump's derogatory nickname for him (Ron DeSanctimonious), said this: "I mean you can call me whatever you want, just as long as you also call me a winner because that's what we've been able to do in Florida – put a lot of points on the board and really take this state to the next level."
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